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Tom Parker Bowles has been chosen to lead a mini library project that was supported by his mother.
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Tom Parker Bowles has been chosen to lead a mini library project that was supported by his mother.

Every parent takes pride in their child’s accomplishments, and the queen is certainly not an exception.

Tom Parker Bowles, along with 20 other writers, has been selected to showcase modern literature for the 100th anniversary celebration of Queen Mary’s Dolls’ House. This initiative has the support of his mother.

The author of food-related content joins a group of distinguished individuals, including Alan Bennett, poet laureate Simon Armitage, and PEN Pinter prize winner Malorie Blackman, in a contemporary collection of miniature manuscripts measuring only 4.5cm in height.

A miniature version of A Recipe Fit for a Queen will be displayed next to pieces by renowned authors such as Lucy Caldwell, Bernardine Evaristo, Sebastian Faulks, Elif Shafak, Tom Stoppard, and Jacqueline Wilson.

Parker Bowles, the offspring of Queen Camilla and her ex-spouse Andrew Parker Bowles, expressed his appreciation for being invited to create a miniature book for Queen Mary’s Dolls’ House. He acknowledged that his recipe called “Fit for a Queen” may not measure up to the talent, craftsmanship, and elegance of Andreas Maroulis and the Royal Bindery.

Camilla expressed that the new books showcase the immense wealth of literary talent in the 21st century. She also emphasized how fortunate it is to have access to such a diverse range of exceptional writers. Their work brings happiness, solace, humor, companionship, and optimism to readers, allowing us to see the world through different perspectives and reminding us that we are not alone.

The world-renowned dolls’ house, constructed from 1921 to 1924 as a present from the country to Queen Mary in the aftermath of WWI, is the biggest and most well-known of its kind. It has been continuously exhibited at Windsor Castle.

The perfect 1:12 scale replica of an Edwardian-style residence – complete with electricity, working lifts and running water – is filled with contributions from more than 1,500 of the finest artists, craftspeople, and manufacturers of the day.

The library is a valuable asset, as it contains miniature books written by well-known writers of the 1920s, including Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Vita Sackville-West, AA Milne, and Thomas Hardy. In honor of the queen’s support, a new library will be created to house modern literature alongside the original manuscripts.

The pieces include a variety of genres such as short stories, poetry collections, illustrated tales, plays, articles, and recipes. Some of these were specifically created for this event. Notable authors featured in the collection include Joseph Coelho, Imtiaz Dharker, Julia Donaldson, Axel Scheffler, Philippa Gregory, Robert Hardman, Anthony Horowitz, Charlie Mackesy, Sir Ben Okri, Sarah Waters, and AN Wilson.

Each book has been bound by hand with a one-of-a-kind cover designed by a renowned bookbinder. Camilla has also included her own tiny book, with a handwritten introduction to the project. This book features a miniature version of her signature symbol, measuring 7mm in height and gold-tooled, just like Queen Mary’s symbol on the original books from the 1920s.

In celebration of the 100th anniversary, additional objects from the dollhouse will be showcased in the Waterloo Chamber at Windsor Castle. These items include a fully functional miniature grand piano and crown jewels adorned with genuine diamonds.

Stella Panayotova, the royal librarian and assistant keeper of the royal archives, expressed that these miniature books are abundant in creativity, skill, emotions, and understanding. These beautiful books bring back the pleasure of attentive reading, careful observation, and contemplation.

The authors also conveyed their joy at being chosen for the compilation. Caldwell described it as “the most enchanting opportunity”.

Evaristo, the author of The African Origins of the United Kingdom, challenges readers to reassess Britain’s past and beginnings. She expressed her appreciation for the opportunity to be a part of such a significant and renowned project while also staying true to her rebellious nature. Horowitz described his book A Tiny Ghost Story as potentially the world’s briefest and smallest ghost story.

Faulks, the author of Music For a Dolls’ House from 1924–2024, described it as a challenging but enjoyable project due to its size. He admitted that he is not a poet and had to use a syllabic verse format due to limited space. He also joked about the strain on his handwriting, comparing it to his experience in elementary school. He expressed regret for any shortcomings in his illustrations.

Donaldson and Scheffler decided that having a miniature version of The Gruffalo would be a significant accomplishment, especially as a way to mark the book’s 25th anniversary. Donaldson mentioned the difficulty of adjusting the pagination and shrinking her handwriting, while Scheffler had the more challenging task of creating additional illustrations.

Source: theguardian.com