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The Duchess of Cornwall supports BBC Radio 2's 500 Words competition

16th June 2017

Chris Evans and David Walliams

Chris Evans introduces David Walliams to the stage to read a Gold winner's story

The Duchess of Cornwall was at the Tower of London today to support BBC Radio 2's 500 Words competition which saw celebrities from David Suchet to comic John Bishop read out the winning entries.

She told the gathered young finalists, accompanied by a parent: "Today is all about your stories.

"I've read some of the brilliant ones that you have written this year, so I know that a rainbow of different ideas has stimulated your imaginations."

Last month, The Duchess joined the 500 Words judging panel as an honorary judge and helped pick the winners with authors Malorie Blackman and Francesca Simon, screenwriter Frank Cottrell Boyce, and author and actor Charlie Higson, with BBC Radio 2's Chris Evans as chairman.

Olly Murs performs live on air

Olly Murs performed at the 500 Words final live

The competition received a record 131,798 entries this year from young writers vying for the bronze, silver and gold prizes in the two age categories, five to nine years and 10 to 13.

Her Royal Highness added: "Wherever you find your inspiration, in the past, present or future, I'm thrilled you love writing. Your stories are brimming with ideas, and fizzing with energy, and hopefully encouraging others, who are listening today, to follow your example."

A speech by HRH The Duchess of Cornwall at the 500 Words competition, broadcast on BBC Radio 2

Published on 16th June 2017

Before I say a few words on a happier note, - I'm sure all of you here today would like to join me in sending our heartfelt thoughts and prayers to the victims, their families and friends, who were so tragically involved in the horrific fire in North Kensington.

Now I suspect, Ladies and Gentlemen, that you never thought you'd be sent to The Tower of London… but here we are today! And if you've read the 'Horrible Histories' you'll know that, in the old days, it was usually a one-way ticket!

As I look round at the happy faces today, I think I can safely say that we are all very excited to be within these historic walls.  Chris Evans and the team at BBC Radio 2 have planned yet another amazing extravaganza to celebrate the final of this magical 500 Words competition, and as I was cast as its ancient Fairy Godmother I'm hoping that there's still a little bit of magic floating around…  

But we don't really need extra magic… look where we are!  The Tower of London is such a famous landmark and such a powerful symbol of London.  It has even featured in episodes of Dr. Who – though you don't need a tardis to be a time traveller here.

Even the names of the buildings around us are dripping with history; The Bloody Tower, Traitors Gate and The Waterloo Block to name but a few.

Places like this tell their own stories and speak to us about the people who lived and died within these walls, which sometimes can awaken lost memories, illuminating the past… 

From the time of William the Conqueror, the Tower of London ...

Read full speech