On Friday, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, visited the BBC Radio 2 studios to help DJ Chris Evans judge the 500 words children’s writing competition, where she revealed her childhood nickname, given to her when singing.
The Duchess mingled with Evans’ guests from the morning show, which included Blondie singer, Debbie Harry, Ray Winstone and actress Jessica Chastain.
“I was always known as the growler at school,” the Duchess told Debbie Harry of her singing voice.
“That can help in rock,” Harry replied. The Blondie singer even offered her a role as a backing singer, to which the Duchess said: “I’d probably be quite good growling away in the background,” referring to her ‘growling’ voice.
“I’m not letting go of this, can I hold in the pictures please? I really am the most huge fan,” the Duchess said, after being given a copy of Blondie’s album when she said she was a ‘huge fan’ of the band. “It’s great to see you still going.”
After Chris Evans had finished on air, he joined Camilla and the judging panel to whittle down more than 131,000 entires to the 500 Words competition. This is the seventh year of the project, which encourages children five to 13 to create stories in fewer than 500 words. You can view the entries here.
The panel of judges included Horrid Henry author Francesca Simon, Frank Cottrell Boyce, Charlie Higson and Malorie Blackman, plus the Royal and DJ. The winners of each age category will be announced next month, on 16th June during a live broadcast of the radio show at the Tower of London.
“I can’t believe the quality of the writing given how young some of them are,” Camilla said, amazed. “I sat down last night and read them again and again. I just couldn’t make up my mind.”
The Duchess is an avid reader, patron of a number of literary organisations for both adults and children.
“It’s really difficult – you put them together then you read them again. I know the ones I like but I cannot put them in any order – they’re all so good.”
After the competition meeting, Camilla returned to Clarence House to join her husband Prince Charles to meet Burmese leader, Aung San Suu Ky, as is tradition for official visits.