Camilla says it is ‘nice to be out and about’ on school visit

The Duchess of Cornwall has said it is “very nice to be out and about” as she met schoolchildren returning to classrooms.

Camilla was greeted by Year 3 pupils on her visit to Ivydale Primary School in south London on Tuesday, on their second day back at their desks.

The trip was marked by the duchess officially opening a new library at the school in Nunhead.

Arriving at the school, Camilla was met by headteacher Helen Ingham and remarked how nice it was to be “out and about”.

The seven and eight-year-old children then sat with the duchess and pointed out their favourite books in the new facility designed and funded by parents.

Camilla, 73, said: “I would like to welcome you all back. It must be nice to be back in school after so long.”

Duchess of Cornwall visits Ivydale Primary School
The Duchess of Cornwall speaks to pupils during a visit to Ivydale Primary School in South London, to open the school’s new library and launch the National Literacy Trust’s Virtual School Library, on International Literacy Day (Steve Reigate/Daily Express)

The visit was in honour of International Literacy Day 2020, and comes after the National Literacy Trust said 10% of schools do not have a library and a quarter of all children did not have access to books of their own or library books during lockdown.

In honour of this, Camilla also privately recorded a video message to launch the organisation’s Virtual School Library project next week, which will show an author or illustrator sharing a free ebook every week.

The headteacher at the school described the new library as “spectacular”, and hoped pupils would “fall in love with reading”.

Books in the new space were donated by families and publishers, including Penguin Random House and HarperCollins – and Rye Books, a local independent bookshop.

Helen Ingham said: “It was an absolute honour for Her Royal Highness to open our new school library.

“It has been a truly special day that our children will never forget.”

Fiona Evans, director of social programmes at the National Literacy Trust, said: “Ivydale Primary School’s brand-new school library was the perfect setting for our Patron HRH The Duchess of Cornwall to launch our new Virtual School Library which will ensure that children have access to the magical world of stories all year round.”

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