On a Tuesday evening, London's historic Clarence House was filled with the rhythmic sound of poetry and the buzz of conversation. Queen Camilla hosted an event at her residence to celebrate a notable achievement – 30 years of the Forward Arts Foundation. Amidst the literary atmosphere that the attendees enjoyed, one specific aspect of the decoration drew everyone's attention: a captivating picture of Prince William and Princess Kate on their wedding day in April 2011. This displayed photograph depicted the immediate royal family, paying tribute to the late Queen Mother, and symbolized the strong connections within the royal household.
Dressed in a stunning blue peacock print silk gown created by Fiona Clare, Camilla, the epitome of grace, made sure that the event was unforgettable. Among the notable attendees of the evening were renowned figures from the arts, such as Helena Bonham Carter and Natascha McElhone.
The renowned actress known for her roles in “Harry Potter” and “Sweeney Todd” captivated the audience with her recitation of “Yes,” a moving work by William Stafford.
During a discussion about her love for poetry, Camilla emphasized, “You can always start, no matter how late,” a sentiment that resonated with those in attendance.
In his speech, William Sieghart, the founder of the Forward Arts Foundation, shared a journey through the charity's history and development, reflecting on the evolution of poetry over the past three decades. He noted, “It's truly remarkable to see how poetry has transformed over these 30 years because, when I began, it was somewhat overlooked as an art form.” He expressed his pride in the charity's achievements, adding, “In a way, it has become our most significant cultural contribution to the world.”
Sieghart underscored the significance of Queen Camilla's association with the Forward Arts Foundation, characterizing it as “wonderful” and a clear indication of the charity's achievements in accomplishing its objectives.
The Forward Arts Foundation takes a leading role in honoring poetic excellence, each year overseeing the presentation of the Forward Prizes for Poetry and the compilation of the Forward Book of Poetry, which showcases the finest poems of the year.
Moreover, their anthology, titled “Poems of the Decade,” plays a vital role in the A-level curriculum, enhancing the educational experience of nearly 8,000 students.
Helena expressed her deep appreciation for poetry, giving credit to William Sieghart and the Forward Arts Foundation for rekindling enthusiasm for this art form.
She remarked, “They have, with the Forward Prizes, done a tremendous job in reestablishing poetry as a vital, wonderful, and indispensable aspect of people's lives.”
Additionally, she commended Camilla's fondness for language and highlighted the therapeutic potential of poetry and its importance in promoting mental well-being.