The Duchess has long been a keen supporter of literacy project and is a patron of the National Literacy Project, as well as the BBC 2 500 words competition which is running at the moment. She was then no doubt very pleased that in addition to her guided tour of the museum by Principal Curator Ann Dinsdale, the visit also included a private reception where she met staff, and local children who had recently taken part in a creative writing competition organised by the museum.
Earlier Camilla fulfilled a life-long wish to visit the Brontë family parsonage in - and even
got to make her mark by writing the final line in a new manuscript of Wuthering Heights.
Ostensibly her visit to the Brontë Parsonage Museum, on the edge of some of Yorkshire’s most beautiful moorland, was to mark the bicentenary of the birth of Emily Bronte and 90 years of the museum, but it was also a very personal one for the duchess.
I've always wanted to visit this place,’ she told Mail Online. ‘This really is such a treat. I’ve always been fascinated by the Brontës.’ Camilla received a short, personal tour of the house with principal curator Ann Dinsdale, and got to handle - gloves on- some of its most precious treasures, including sketches made by the famous sisters themselves - Emily, Charlotte and Anne - and miniature, handwritten books. ‘How did they do this?’ she marvelled. ‘Even with my glasses and a magnifying glass I can barely read them.’
She also wondered at how tiny the sisters, dresses were - ‘they really were so tiny, weren’t they?’ - and of the sadness of their lives. None of the sisters lived until old age: Charlotte died at 38, Emily at 30 and Anne at 29, and all were childless.Their father, Patrick Brontë, curate of Haworth Church, outlived all of his six children and also his wife. She was also invited to take part in Clare Twomey’s Wuthering Heights - A Manuscript project, which set out to recreate the long-lost first manuscript of Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights by inviting 12,000 visitors to each copy a line from the book. Some enthusiasts queued for three days to write the line of their choice for the bound book, which will be displayed for the rest of the year. The duchess was invited to write the last line in the manuscript which read: ‘and wondered how anyone could ever imagine unquiet slumbers, for the sleepers in that quiet earth’. ‘I had better make sure this is in my best handwriting, ‘ she joked, but afterwards admitted: ‘I think that tailed off a bit towards the end, sorry.’ Afterwards she stopped off at a short reception where she met museum staff and volunteers, as well as local schoolchildren who recently took part in a creative writing competition organised by the museum. The duchess is an avid reader and patron of a number of literary charities. There was something of a royal first later as she boarded a vintage bus for a very bumpy ride through the streets of the village. As the bus started creaking ominously at the top of a steep hill, the royal joked loudly: ‘I hope the brakes are working!’ But she still managed to wave cheerily to local well-wishers and tourists lining the streets. dailymail/Camilla-joins-Charles-day-engagements-Yorkshire