The Duchess of Rothesay has invited Press and Journal readers to take comfort within the pages of some of her favourite books during the coronavirus lockdown.
Famously an ardent reader of all kinds of literature, Camilla has long championed the written word as a transformative tool to help better lives.
As patron of the National Literacy Trust, the royal has a long record of encouraging both children and adults to discover the joy of reading.
And now, during one of the most disruptive and upsetting periods in recent history, the duchess has shared a selection of books near and dear to her heart exclusively with the Press and Journal.
The duchess said she hopes the list will help those who need a little bit of escapism and relief from the day to day troubles brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic.
She said: “Ernest Hemingway, famously, once said ‘there is no friend as loyal as a book’.
“In these challenging times when we are isolated from the ones we love, many of us are finding comfort in reading, to fire up our imaginations, to take us on journeys and to make us laugh.
“With that in mind, here is a list of my dearest ‘friends’.”
The nine books Camilla has recommended are drawn from a wide range of styles and genres, from the modern fantasy novel The Secret Commonwealth by author Philip Pullman, which she called “storytelling at its best”, to the classic A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens, which the royal said is “in my humble opinion, one of his best”.
Also sharing space on Camilla’s bookshelf is wartime thriller Restless by William Boyd, and The Architect’s Apprentice by Elif Shafak, which she said is a “magical, colourful tale set during the height of the Ottoman Empire”.
And although the Duchess said that if she “were sent to a desert island with one book” she would choose the Cazalet Chronicles by Elizabeth Jane Howard – the story of a family transformed by the Second World War – the final book on her list of suggested stories is of particular importance to Her Royal Highness.
Travels on my Elephant by Mark Shand, her late brother, tells the story of his adventures with his elephant Tara across India.
The travel writer and conservationist was heavily involved in the protection of Asian elephants and, as well as writing about the charismatic animals, he also appeared in documentaries featuring them.
The duchess said: “My late brother’s tale of his love affair with Tara, an Asian elephant, on their journey across India… it always brings a tear to my eye.”