Duchess of Cornwall new Booktrust patron

Booktrust has appointed the Duchess of Cornwall as its patron, succeeding the Duke of Edinburgh who has stood down from the role.

Viv Bird, chief executive of the book charity, which aims to encourage reading through literacy programmes and administering literary prizes, said: "It is excellent news that The Duchess of Cornwall has become a powerful and passionate advocate on matters relating to literacy and I know that she will be a powerful voice for us in highlighting the vital importance of reading for pleasure.

"We have an extremely exciting few years ahead of us and I very much look forward to working closely with The Duchess, continuing to make a difference to people's lives through a love of books and celebrating the 20th anniversary of Bookstart in 2012."

The Duchess of Cornwall spoke at last June's Orange Prize for Fiction awards ceremony, administered by Booktrust, and met Bird in February this year during a visit to Dundonald Library near Belfast.