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Camilla receives early birthday present at Clarence House books party

Camilla welcomed schoolchildren to a garden party to mark the milestone and celebrate a literacy competition that will see 70 books go to 70 schools.

The Duchess of Cornwall, who turns 70 soon, joked about hanging on to the last few moments of her sixth decade as she was presented with an early birthday present.

Camilla’s quip came when she welcomed schoolchildren to her London home for a garden party to mark the milestone and celebrate a literacy competition that will see 70 books presented to 70 schools.

Books by well-known authors like Roald Dahl, JK Rowling and Ted Hughes were chosen by children across the country, and two schools which took part were invited to Clarence House, as were writers Jacqueline Wilson and comic actor David Walliams, who both made it on to the book list.

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The Duchess of Cornwall (centre) with comedian and author David Walliams and school children (Chris Jackson/PA)

The Duchess, who is an avid reader and patron of a number of literacy charities and organisations, will celebrate her 70th birthday on July 17.

She was presented with a set of the 70 books for her five grandchildren and said: “I know most of the books backwards because I read them to my grandchildren, and we’re going to have a terrible time because they’re (going to be) fighting over these bookshelves – if I can plonk it somewhere in the middle they can come and borrow books.”

Camilla made the group laugh when she added: “An early birthday present – I’d like to point out my birthday isn’t quite yet, I’m hanging on to the last years of my sixth decade, so not quite yet.”

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The Duchess of Cornwall hosts a tea party to celebrate The Duchess's Bookshelves project at Clarence House (Chris Jackson/PA)

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