A very special visitor
It is not every day that a member of the Royal family visits your workplace!
The last time that Book Aid International welcomed a royal visitor was back in 1987, as some black and white photos of His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh standing in our back yard testify!
So we were very honoured and excited to receive Her Majesty The Queen Consort to our offices and warehouse in Camberwell last week.
We were thrilled when Her Majesty became our charity’s Patron back in May 2022, while Duchess of Cornwall, as she well known for her real love of books and her passionate support for organisations that get everyone reading.
The morning of the visit, I confess that we were all more than a little nervous! But we needn’t have worried as Her Majesty set everyone at ease and asking questions to help her understand how our small organisation managed to send over a million brand-new books every year to over 25 countries in Africa and beyond.
As she toured our warehouse, accompanied by Harry Boughton, our Head of Operations, and Lord Paul Boateng, our Vice Patron, she saw a small selection of the books we send for children piled up ready to be selected and sent to our partners. And an avid reader herself, she admired the range of our fiction titles and marvelled at the popularity of Danielle Steel, particularly in Zimbabwe.
At the end of her visit, Her Majesty stamped and packed two books for a shipment to Kigali, Rwanda due to depart the warehouse the next day. It was all in all a very special day.
When I reflect on the visit, I am reminded of how books connect us all and how stories are most powerful when they are shared. Her Majesty’s visit sends a powerful message about the importance of books for all.
We thank Her Majesty for her visit, and for her unfailing support for reading across the Commonwealth and around the world.
Our vision is a world where everyone has access to books that will enrich, improve and change their lives.
Our organisation was founded in 1954 by Hermione, Countess of Ranfurly, who recognised the power of books.
We work with partners to make sure books that will have the biggest impact go where they are needed most.