The Duchess of Cornwall has promised to send one of her favourite children’s books to a schoolgirl who shares the royal’s passion for reading and horses.
Camilla told 11-year-old Imaan Islam she would “love” Moorland Mousie – a book about the adventures of an Exmoor pony – when the pair met at a north London hospital as the duchess marked International Nurses’ Day.
She toured Whittington Hospital in Archway to pay tribute to the tireless work of nurses throughout the coronavirus pandemic and meet some of the children under their specialist care.
Meeting a group of nurses in the hospital atrium, Camilla said: “The whole world owes you all a great debt of gratitude, you are all quite amazing”.
When the duchess chatted to Imaan, who has to spend one day a month on the specialist blood ward for treatment for the disease Thalassemia, she asked the youngster what she enjoyed doing when not in hospital.
The 11-year-old replied: “I love riding horses and taking care of them. It’s my favourite thing to do.”
An excited Camilla said: “My goodness, I love horses too, aren’t they wonderful? And tell me, do you enjoy reading at all, when you’re here or at home?”
As Imaan nodded enthusiastically, the duchess said: “Well you must read the book Moorland Mousie, it’s one of my favourites from when I was your age and I will get it sent to you, you will love it.”
During the launch phase of her online Reading Room book club, Camilla spoke about her childhood memories of the novel.
She said: “This wonderful book brings back many happy memories of the hours my sister and I spent galloping over the moors with Moorland Mousie and his friends – inspired by the magical plates by Lionel Edwards.
“I hope that children today will love it as much as we did, and Mousie and his friends will enhance their lives, as they did ours.”
The duchess’s trip coincided with the launch of the Marvellous Thank You campaign by Roald Dahl’s Marvellous Children’s Charity, which supports seriously ill children through its specialist nurses.
The fundraising campaign is encouraging the public to send digital cards as a thank you to someone who has supported them though the pandemic – with the electronic notes designed by charity supporters like Sir Quentin Blake, Gerald Scarfe and Jane Asher.
After touring the ward Camilla, 73, visited the hospital’s sensory garden and helped to plant new NHS Nye Bevan and Roald Dahl roses alongside staff.
Baroness Neuberger, chair of Whittington Health NHS Trust, presented the duchess with a copy of Slater King’s Whittington Hospital – In the time of Covid, a photobook that tells the story of Whittington Health staff working during the first wave of the pandemic.
Camilla said: “You are all simply amazing for what you have done for everyone in this hospital and especially the children.
“We all owe you so much and I hope this is a sign of better things to come.”