Duchess of Cornwall joins all-star reading of Roald Dahl classic

Laura Harding, PA Deputy Entertainment Editor

The Duchess of Cornwall is joining Hollywood stars including Meryl Streep, Benedict Cumberbatch and Ryan Reynolds in lending her voice to a retelling of James And The Giant Peach.

Roald Dahl’s classic children’s book has been recorded from start to finish in 10 instalments, for children and families currently in lockdown across the globe amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Filmmaker Taika Waititi is joined by different guest stars in each episode to voice the assortment of characters.

Camilla features alongside Black Panther actress Lupita Nyong’o and Frozen star Josh Gad in the sixth episode, playing a ship’s captain who spots the giant peach and says: “Holy cats! Send a message to the Queen at once! The country must be warned!”

Before recording, Camilla admitted to Waititi: “I’m thrilled to do it. Not that I’m much of an actor, but I will do my best.”

Afterwards she added: “I didn’t think we did badly at all.”

Camilla read on James And The Giant Peach With Taika And Friends (Roald Dahl Story Company)

James And The Giant Peach With Taika And Friends aims to raise money for Partners In Health, a global health non-profit organisation fighting coronavirus in some of the most vulnerable parts of the world.

It is part of a commitment by the Roald Dahl Story Company to support charities affected by Covid-19, which also includes the Roald Dahl Marvellous Children’s Charity in the UK, which provides specialist nurses to seriously ill children, and of which the royal is patron.

Camilla said: “I hope this campaign will raise vital funds to support those most in need at this very challenging time – as well as helping families and children currently in lockdown to find a moment of comfort through the joy of reading.”

The Roald Dahl Story Company will match the first one million dollars (£806,000) of donations to Partners In Health, with partners also lined up for matching beyond this milestone.

Luke Kelly, managing director of The Roald Dahl Story Company said: “Our goal is to bring joy and escapism to children and families at this very tough time – but also to raise vital funds for Partners in Health who are working on the front line in the fight against Covid-19.

“The participation of Her Royal Highness is a very special moment in this campaign and we feel so privileged to have her involvement – we know parents and children in lockdown all over the world are going to love this episode and we look forward to revealing further surprises in due course.”

The episodes are released on the Roald Dahl YouTube channel every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

People can donate to Partners In Health by visiting www.pih.org/giantpeach