Camilla’s father was ‘best read man’ and inspired her love of reading

Laura Elston, PA Court Reporter

The Duchess of Cornwall has told how her love of books was inspired by her father.

Camilla, in a video recorded for her online book club The Duchess of Cornwall’s Reading Room, said Major Bruce Shand “devoured books” and was “the best read man I’ve come across, anywhere”.

The duchess said being read to in her early childhood sparked her lifelong love of reading.

Camilla with her father Major Bruce Shand
Camilla with her father (PA)

The footage, released on Instagram, included a black and white image of Camilla’s father as a young man.

She said: “I think it certainly came from my father, he was probably the best read man I’ve come across, anywhere. I mean, he devoured books.

“And so he read to us, as children. He chose the books and we listened.

“And I think… the love of books was ingrained in us, because, you know, it was there from such an early age.”

War hero Maj Shand, who died in 2006 at the age of 89, was a strong source of support for Camilla.

She has spoken with pride of his military service.

He was awarded two Military Crosses during the Second World War and was also captured and became a prisoner of war.

The duchess has previously described him as a “brilliant storyteller” who “read to us each night and transported us into different worlds”.

Camilla holds seven patronages related to literature, including the National Literacy Trust, and has presented the prestigious Booker Prize for a number of years.

Her first four choices for her Reading Room are Dame Hilary Mantel’s The Mirror And The Light, William Boyd’s Restless, Where The Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens and The Architect’s Apprentice by Elif Shafak.

Last week, Camilla hailed a “renaissance of reading” during the coronavirus pandemic, once people had got over the initial shock of being “locked down, locked up, locked in”.

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