On Monday, Queen Camilla accompanied King Charles III as he left a private hospital in London following surgery to treat a benign prostate condition. By Tuesday, she was back to work at Windsor Castle, where she hosted a reception celebrating the authors who contributed to a new Modern-Day Miniature Library going on display next to the historic Queen Mary’s Dolls’ House on display in the castle’s public area.
The original dollhouse was designed for Queen Mary, the consort of George V, and was completed in 1924, and it includes a library containing four-centimeter-tall copies of famous books from the era from authors including A.A. Milne, Vita Sackville-West, and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. To celebrate its centenary, the Royal Collections Trust commissioned some of today’s notable writers and bookbinders to create miniature works for display.
According to the Telegraph, Camilla celebrated the authors and joked that reading tiny books was damaging her eyesight. “I’m thrilled by this and I hope you’ll all be very, very proud of what you’ve done,” she said. “As a child, seeing the dolls’ house for the first time, I was always fascinated by the books. The idea of actually seeing these writers, actually seeing their writing, was huge excitement—looking at it and thinking actually that was Conan Doyle and whoever.”
The new group of miniature books were bound at the Royal Bindery, which preserves historical documents and creates state new state volumes, and the list of contributions includes notables like novelists Anthony Horowitz, Booker Prize winner Bernardine Evaristo, and Philippa Gregory, a miniature version of The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler, and a play by Sir Tom Stoppard. “Echoing the process of a century ago, today’s writers were again asked to write by hand in miniature format. Their little pages were bound by leading contemporary designer-binders,” read a statement from the trust. “After being displayed in an exhibition at Windsor Castle during 2024, the new collection of doll-size books will be kept together in the Royal Library.”
The queen’s son, food writer Tom Parker Bowles, also contributed a book called A Recipe Fit For a Queen, which contains his handwritten instructions for roast chicken and potatoes. The queen herself contributed an introduction to the project in the form of a foreword to an accompanying volume about the dollhouse, a copy of which has also been published in miniature for the library.