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Shakespeare & Beyond

See what caught Prince Charles's attention when he visited the Folger Shakespeare Library

Prince Charles and Camilla
Prince Charles and Camilla
Prince Charles and Camilla

(l-r) Gail Kern Paster, Prince Charles, Camilla, Georgianna Ziegler. 2005.

By Esther Ferington

Charles, Prince of Wales, celebrates his birthday on November 14. To mark the occasion, we’ve been recalling his visit to the Folger Shakespeare Library in 2005, with his wife, Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall.

Prince Charles is the President of the Royal Shakespeare Company, where he appeared in a cameo role this April for the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death.

He has also founded charities related to young people and to the arts, among other causes. During the couple’s visit, they attended a Folger Education workshop with local public school children.

Charles and Camilla also took the time to see rare items from the Folger collection, some of which are linked to the British royal families of centuries ago. In our recent farewell interview with Georgianna Ziegler, Louis B. Thalheimer Associate Librarian and Head of Reference Emerita, we asked about the items that they examined—including an early modern, but definitely non-royal, book on plants that got Prince Charles’s attention.

What was the visit like with Prince Charles and Camilla?

The Prince Charles day was fun. We had chosen a group of books, and we had them all lined up along tables in the Old Reading Room, things like Henry VIII’s copy of Cicero. That’s the book he had as a boy, in which he wrote, “This book is mine, Prince Henry.”