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A note from our Chair

Our Chair, Dr Alice Prochaska reflects on the passing of Her Majesty The Queen.

The passing of Queen Elizabeth II, and her funeral on the 19th of September, is a solemn moment for the nation. The community of Book Aid International shares in sending deepest condolences to the family of Her Majesty in their loss. 

We share, too, in the sense of admiration for her life of service, manifested by the countless thousands of people who stood in silence and laid flowers along the routes of the funeral cortege in Edinburgh and London.

This is also a time of thoughtful reflection for the thousands of charities that have enjoyed the patronage of the late Queen and members of the Royal Family. Royal patronage greatly raises the profile of these charities, large and small, many of whom rely on public support for their work.  It is a vital ingredient in their success, and a source of affirmation and encouragement for the people, including hundreds of thousands of volunteers, who work to deliver their charity’s mission. 

Book Aid International was both proud and grateful to enjoy the patronage of HRH the Duke of Edinburgh from 1966 till his death in 2021. His Royal Highness visited our Camberwell headquarters and was always a strong supporter of our work, and an inspiration to us all.  Following the death of His Royal Highness, we were honoured, and delighted beyond measure, that HRH the Duchess of Cornwall as she then was, now Her Majesty the Queen Consort, assumed the patronage of Book Aid International. 

It is well known that Her Majesty’s love of books runs deep, and is a passion that she loves to share.  Whether as one-time Chair of the panel for the prestigious Booker Prize, through her very popular online book club The Reading Room, or in many other ways, she affirms the enjoyment of books and the universal importance of reading.  Her Majesty has already visited schools and libraries that Book Aid International supports in Commonwealth countries, among communities where access to books is a huge challenge.  We look forward to her visiting many more in the future.   

For me it was a huge privilege to become Chair of Book Aid International earlier this year.  That sense of privilege is coupled with a feeling of obligation to support this wonderful charity and its dedicated staff, partners and readers, young and old, in every way that I possibly can. 

It greatly enhances that sense of obligation to know that we have the active support of our royal Patron, who believes in the importance of what we do, and to whom we can turn for encouragement and support in the years to come.  

As we work to share the power of books with millions of people around the world, we pause at this historic moment to reflect on the example of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, on her unrivalled sense of duty and on her matchless dedication of her whole life to the service of others.

Thank you, Your Majesty.