Duchess of Cornwall's reading room project praised by Judi Dench—'it can fire your imagination'

The Duchess of Cornwall's reading room project has been praised by Judi Dench as she discusses her love of literature

Duchess of Cornwall's reading room
(Image credit: Chris Jackson / Staff / Getty Images)

The Duchess of Cornwall's reading room has been complimented by Judi Dench who has shared her love of literature in a new interview.   


In the interview by Gyles Brandreth for the Duchess of Cornwall's project, Judi was asked, "What do you think of the idea of The Reading Room, this book club, to encourage people to read? Have you ever belonged to an actual book club as opposed to a virtual one?"

"Never, never, no, we just had books about," said Judi. "But if you don't have books about, and it's not something that's generally done in your house or something, then it's a wonderful thing to be introduced to it."

Gyles agreed and replied, "That's what I like about the reading room, in a sense that every season there is a new selection of books. if you think, where shall I start? Just dip into these and give it a go."

"Yes! And if one's not your cup of tea, there's always another one standing right behind it, you know, to take over. Something will fire your imagination or something that is said in a certain way that you think 'Gosh, I've felt just like that, but I've never thought of expressing it in that way,'" said Judi.

In the interview, Judi also stressed the importance of reading projects for the younger generation as she expressed her fears that the art of reading was being lost by a generation obsessed with their mobile phones.

"It's a deep concern to me that this machine [she gestured to her hands as if texting] takes over a lot of young people's lives and they may think that that is a better substitute to a book. But try a book, because it can present you with many more things, that you don't just read, but fire your imagination," said Judi

This conversation between Judi and Gyles was a first in the new series of 'Reading Room Roundtables' that is part of the Duchess' reading room project.

Although the Reading Room launched in 2020—after the success of the Duchess' reading recommendations led her to launch a virtual club—due to covid restrictions, a launch party for the event only took place in October 2021.

Judi was in attendance at this event with the Duchess of Cornwall where the two were pictured embracing and chatting as they were united by their love of literature.

Judi Dench

(Image credit: WPA Pool / Pool / Getty Images)

During the event at Clarence House, the Duchess said, "I particularly wanted to say a huge thank you to all the writers here this afternoon for sharing your incredible stories with us readers. You will never know how many lives you have touched, or how much joy, laughter, companionship, and comfort you have brought to book lovers all over the world, especially during these challenging times."

Other attendees at this event included Hilary Mantel the author of Wolf Hall, Dame Edna O'Brien, author of Country Girl, and Lady Antonia Fraser, author of historical fiction novels including, Marie Antoinette: The Journey.

The Crown actor Charles Dance was also at the event. Despite the awkward connections to his role in the Netflix series playing Lord Mountbatten, he spoke about Duchess Camilla's project very highly as he called the project "marvelous."

Laura Harman
Laura Harman

Laura is a news writer for woman&home who primarily covers entertainment and celebrity news. Laura dabbles in lifestyle, royal, beauty and fashion news, and her favourite stories to cover as anything and everything to do with television and film. She is also passionate about feminism and equality and loves writing about gender issues and feminist literature.


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