On Monday, the Booker Prize ceremony was held in London, and any celebrity on that side of the pound flocked to the grand event. Fans of music and the royal family were pleased and a little bemused to see pop star (and newsletter publisher) Dua Lipa in serious conversation with Queen Consort Camilla. The musical artist was in attendance as a keynote speaker, while Camilla was set to present this year's Booker Prize for Fiction.
Having an official role, Camilla was tasked with greeting people at they entered the Roundhouse, the arts venue where the ceremony was held. She and Dua Lipa seemed to enjoy a brief conversation, perhaps talking about books or music or a third interest that overlaps in their very different lives.
During her speech, Dua Lipa, clad in a black Burberry dress, told the audience, “Good writing has the power to make people feel seen and heard, to tell stories that the world has ignored. We all just want to love and be loved and find our place in the world, and authors really help us to do that.”
Queen Camilla has chosen literacy as a specific focus of her public work, and this was the seventh time she has presented the Booker Prize. In January of 2021, she launch a literacy initiative called the Reading Room after finding that people were very interested in her literary recommendations.
“Welcome to my Reading Room, and to our community of lovers of all things literary, ” she says in an introductory video on the Reading Room website. “I have been passionate about books all my life, and I'm delighted to be able to share some of my favorites with you here, and to introduce you to the extraordinary people who write them.”
She goes on to say, “I hope you'll enjoy exploring this website, where you can immerse yourself in exclusive author interviews, reading recommendations, and so much more. Whether you find yourself embarking on new bookish adventures, or simply connecting with old and familiar friends, I wish you very happy reading.”
Meanwhile, Lipa has taken up the cause of literature by regularly dropping book suggestions and featuring authors in her Service95 newsletter. We wonder if the Queens exchanged any good read recs during the encounter.