THE DUCHESS OF CORNWALL WILL ATTEND THE LONDON LIBRARY GALA DINNER
Wednesday 6th November 2019
The Duchess of Cornwall, Vice-Patron of the London Library, will attend a gala dinner to mark the 200th anniversary of the birth of Prince Albert, the first Royal Patron of the London Library.
Her Royal Highness will arrive at the London Library and be greeted by Sir Tim Rice, President. The Duchess will then join a reception in the Issue Hall, meeting guests, members and supporters as well as participants on the Library’s Emerging Writers Programme. Her Royal Highness will view a collection of books donated to the Library by Prince Albert, and say a few words ahead of the dinner.
The London Library is the world’s largest lending library, providing access to a borrowing collection of over one million books and periodicals (dating from 1700 to the present day) and extensive online resources. It has long been considered one of the country’s foremost literary institutions – 10 Nobel Prize winners in Literature have been members and for nearly two centuries it has been used by a range of well-known writers and thinkers.
The Library was founded in 1841 by Thomas Carlyle and its founder members include Charles Dickens, William Gladstone, John Stuart Mill and Harriet Martineau. Prince Albert, whose bicentenary is celebrated this year, became the Library’s first Patron and donated a number of books to the collection in the 1840s.
During the course of its history, members have ranged from Charles Darwin, George Eliot, Virginia Woolf and T.S. Eliot, to Stanley Kubrick, H.G. Wells, and Cristobel Pankhurst. Today’s membership comprises writers, academics, students, researchers and members of the public, all sharing a love of the written word. Current members include Jessie Burton, Simon Schama, Sarah Waters, David Hare, Philippa Gregory and Kazuo Ishiguro.
The Library is a charity and relies on membership subscriptions and donations. It has 6,700 current members and through a funding scheme originally established by T.S. Eliot, offers financial support to writers unable to use the Library’s resources through their own means. The Library is active in its support for emerging writers, offering a year-long development programme (Emerging Writers Programme) for writers yet to have works published. 37 young writers are on the current programme, launched this year, and benefit from free access to the Library’s collection and free masterclasses. The Library has also recently partnered with Jacaranda Books to support black authors in the UK.
Alongside offering extensive online resources, the Library facilitates remote usage through posting books to members in Europe and the USA, participating in the Inter-Library loans scheme and offering remote access membership packages. It also runs an active events programme open to members and non-members alike and featuring fortnightly talks by leading authors.
Her Majesty The Queen is Patron of the London Library and The Duchess of Cornwall has been Vice-Patron since 2012.