Queen tells excited children a new school library will make ‘huge difference’

The Queen told children “the more books you read, the more you’re going to learn” as she opened a new school library which she said would make a “huge difference” to pupils.

Camilla told excited children at Moreland Primary School in Islington, London: “The more you’re going to learn the more you’re going to get on in life.

“It’s so important to keep reading.”

Royal visit to Moreland Primary School
The Queen in the library of Moreland Primary School (Justin Tallis/PA)

The library’s opening is part of the Coronation Libraries Project which honours the Queen’s significant contributions to literacy initiatives and her encouragement for children to embrace reading.

The project has revitalised library spaces in 50 primary schools across the UK in communities facing low literacy rates, significant economic challenges and a lack of access to books both at home and in school, especially for children.

She added: “You’re really lucky to have such a beautiful library and I hope you’re going to enjoy reading all the books, because the more books you read the more you’re going to learn.

Royal visit to Moreland Primary School
Children waited with excitement to meet the Queen during her visit to Moreland Primary School (Justin Tallis/PA)

“The more you’re going to learn the more you’re going to get on in life.

“It’s so important to keep reading, and I think having a library like this makes a huge difference to all of you here.

“Good luck and keep reading.”

The library is stocked with 300 brand new books which includes the Chase Coronation Collection, featuring the top 23 children’s books as selected by UK primary school children in honour of the 2023 coronation where Camilla was crowned alongside her husband, the King.

Royal visit to Moreland Primary School
The Queen with Jonathan Douglas, chief executive of the National Literacy Trust, and Moreland Primary headteacher Catherine Lawrence (Justin Tallis/PA)

During Tuesday’s visit, the Queen joined children in the school’s assembly hall as they listened to stories told by British-Sierra Leonean rapper and storyteller Alim Kamara, the founder of the storytelling company Storie Storie.

Mr Kamara told the PA news agency the Queen praised him as “an excellent storyteller” and commended his ability to keep all the children “gripped in their seats”.

Royal visit to Moreland Primary School
British-Sierra Leonean rapper and storyteller Alim Kamara entertained the Queen (Justin Tallis/PA)

In the library, Camilla and pupil ambassadors heard a recital of the poem One Thousand Libraries by Waterstones Children’s Laureate Joseph Coelho.

Mr Coelho told PA: “I had the lovely opportunity of talking to Her Majesty about how she reads to her grandchildren and about the importance of poems and books. It was really lovely to share that passion with her.”

Royal visit to Moreland Primary School
Queen Camilla and pupils listen to Waterstones Children’s Laureate and poet Joseph Coelho (Justin Tallis/PA)

Camilla also joined a roundtable discussion chaired by Bloomberg News anchor Tom Mackenzie. Bloomberg supported 25 of the 50 libraries as part of the Coronation Libraries Project.

The entire school gathered in the playground as the Queen enjoyed a performance by the school choir, while pupils waved flags decorated with drawings of their favourite book characters, before she said farewell.

The children told Camilla she was “beautiful, capable, and awesome” while one child said she was “excited” and vowed never to wash her hands again after shaking hands with the Queen.

Royal visit to Moreland Primary School
Queen Camilla is greeted by pupils in the courtyard of Moreland Primary School in London (Justin Tallis/PA)

The Queen complimented one child, remarking that “someone has been practising their curtsies” and said that it was a “pleasure” to visit the school.

Moreland Primary School’s library marks the significant milestone of being the 1,000th transformed through the Libraries for Primaries campaign.

Launched in 2021 by the National Literacy Trust and Penguin Books, the campaign unites charities, publishers, and businesses to tackle the lack of investment in primary school libraries,

Catherine Lawrence, headteacher at Moreland Primary School, said: “We were honoured to receive Her Majesty Queen Camilla today to open our fantastic new library space and hear first-hand from pupils about their passion for reading.

“This new chapter for our library is a momentous occasion for our school and community.

“Reading is at the heart of our curriculum and the library will cement our aim to not only empower every child with the tools they need to succeed, but also foster a love of reading that lasts a lifetime.

“Access to books at home is limited for many of our children; this new library gives families the opportunity to share the joy of books together, regardless of their background or circumstance.”