Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, urges parents to read to children

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The Duchess of Cornwall is passionate about books

The Duchess of Cornwall is urging parents to read to children daily and "lead them on a voyage of discovery".

Writing in the Sunday Express, Camilla spoke of the joy her father brought to her by reading to her every night.

She said: "Those evenings didn't just pass on a lifelong love of reading; they made me, too, want to share that passion with my children and now with my grandchildren."

The duchess was writing ahead of ahead of World Book Day on Thursday.

She said a day dedicated to books may seem "a bit old-fashioned" in a world "that sometimes feels dominated by too many screens and too much information".

But Camilla said it was a "timely reminder" of how important books and reading are, especially for children.

'Brains buzzing'

She said: "Turning the pages of a favourite book creates a very special bond with our grandchildren, but it's not just an indulgent pleasure. We all know that reading is an invaluable life skill.

"It is vital for children in their education and as they take their place in the grown-up world."

The duchess also said books can "fire the imaginations" of children and "get their brains buzzing unlike anything else".

She added: "Reading to our children and our grandchildren is something we can all try to do every day of the year.

"Not only does it give us pleasure but it leads them on a voyage of discovery and enrichment that only books can bring."

Recalling her own father, Major Bruce Shand, reading to her as a child, she said the "fervent bibliophile" brought characters such as "the dashing Scarlet Pimpernel" or "inquisitive Alice" to life "vividly".

"We couldn't wait for the next instalment," she added.

As well as encouraging children to read, the duchess is also passionate about children using their imagination to write their own stories - and is regularly on the judging panel of BBC Radio 2's annual 500 Words competition.