‘Very funny’ Duchess of Cornwall meets Booker Prize winners

The “very funny” Duchess of Cornwall has expressed her passion for reading during a meeting with the dual Booker Prize winners.

She met Margaret Atwood and Bernardine Evaristo for tea at Clarence House after award judges chose to break the rules and split the annual prize.

Camilla was given signed copies of the authors’ books after the reception in London, following which she was described as “very, very funny”.

Duchess of Cornwall hosts Booker Prize Foundation
The Duchess of Cornwall with 2019 Booker prize winners Margaret Atwood and Bernardine Evaristo (Aaron Chown/PA)

The duchess, who last year presented the Booker to first Northern Irish winner Anna Burns, said she was sad to have missed this year’s ceremony.

She congratulated Atwood during the tea, and said of the surprise decision to split the prize: “It must have been so exciting to have a tie.”

Duchess of Cornwall hosts Booker Prize Foundation
The Duchess of Cornwall, Bernardine Evaristo and Margaret Atwood during a tea at Clarence House (Aaron Chown/PA)

Turning to Evaristo, Camilla said: “It came out of the blue. I was really sad I missed it this year.”

Atwood, author of The Testaments, said after the meeting: “She was very sorry she couldn’t be there and swore that she would be there next year. And said how lucky we are to be writers.”

On being in Clarence House, she added: “Very nice carpets and pictures.”

Evaristo said after the tea: “It was lots of fun. She’s very, very funny and very engaged in literature and literature projects.”

The author signed and handed over copies of her winning book Girl, Woman, Other.

Evaristo said: “She said she would keep one and give her other copy to her son.”

Speaking to the chairman of the Booker jury, Peter Florence, Camilla said that reading was “the best thing in the world”.

Camilla is a patron of the National Literacy Trust and Book Trust and a long-time supporter of the Booker Prize.

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