Queen Consort Camilla attacks censorship of authors amid Roald Dahl row

23 February 2023, 13:14 | Updated: 23 February 2023, 18:39

Queen Consort Camilla (l) speaks out against censorship of Roald Dahl books
Queen Consort Camilla (l) speaks out against censorship of Roald Dahl books. Picture: Alamy

By Asher McShane

The Queen Consort urged authors to ‘remain true to your calling’ and resist curbs on freedom of expression as she waded into the row over the censorship of Roald Dahl books.

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At a reception for authors at Clarence House, joined by her husband the King, to celebrate the second anniversary of her book club The Queen’s Reading Room, she said authors must “remain true to your calling, unimpeded by those who may wish to curb the freedom of your expression or impose limits on your imagination. Enough said.

“Let there be no speaking like mice about your achievements, but only roaring like a pride of lions,” she added.

Her comments were greeted by cheers of “hear, hear.”

Read more: Roald Dahl publishers slammed for removing 'offensive' terms from novels, including cutting the word 'fat' from every book

Queen Consort attends first event after recovering from Covid-19

It comes after hundreds of changes were made to Roald Dahl's books in a bid to make them more inclusive.

Publishers Puffin brought in sensitivity readers to adapt the beloved novels to make sure they "can continue to be enjoyed by all today".

Many references to characters' appearance have been cut, including removing any reference to the word 'fat', the Telegraph reported.

Camilla wades into author censorship row in her first appearance since covid
Camilla wades into author censorship row in her first appearance since covid. Picture: Alamy

Among other edits there is a witch posing as a cashier in a supermarket in The Witches now being "a top scientist", an "attractive middle aged lady" in Esio Trot now being "a kind middle aged lady".

The title character in The BFG does not wear a black cloak any more and characters cannot turn "white with fear" - the words "black" and "white" have been cut out.

The review began in 2020 when the company was run by the Roald Dahl Story Company.

Roald Dahl's works have been edited for 'inclusivity' reasons.
Roald Dahl's works have been edited for 'inclusivity' reasons. Picture: Getty

The Roald Dahl company said: "We want to ensure Roald Dahl’s wonderful stories and characters continue to be enjoyed by all children today when publishing new print runs of books written years ago, it’s not unusual to review the language used alongside updating other details including a book’s cover and page layout.

"Our guiding principle throughout has been to maintain the storylines, characters, and the irreverence and sharp-edged spirit of the original text. Any changes made have been small and carefully considered.

“As part of our process to review the language used we worked in partnership with Inclusive Minds, a collective for people who are passionate about inclusion and accessibility in children's literature. 

"The current review began in 2020, before Dahl was acquired by Netflix. It was led by Puffin and Roald Dahl Story Company together.”

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