The Duchess of Cornwall joined schoolchildren, Chelsea Pensioners and care home residents for a special Poetry Together celebration at the Royal Geographical Society in November

Schoolchildren, care home residents and Chelsea Pensioners celebrated the power of the spoken word at a special Poetry Together tea party held in London at the Royal Geographical Society (RGS) in November. Poetry Together founder, the writer and broadcaster Gyles Brandreth, and poetry supporter HRH The Duchess of Cornwall, joined them at the event. This was organised by Dukes Education – an enthusiastic backer of the initiative since it began in 2019.

School pupils and elderly guests travelled from across the UK to the RGS in Kensington for poetry performances followed by tea and Victoria sponge cake made to HRH The Duchess of Cornwall’s own recipe. There were two types of sponge on offer, one with a traditional jam and cream filling and the other was the Duchess’s special version made with Nutella.

Poetry Together welcomes very special guests
Poetry and cakes ensured a very special afternoon

There were five poetry performances that took place in the RGS’s Ondaatje Theatre. Whitehill Junior School, Hertfordshire pupils performed an original poem by celebrated local poet John Gohorry – winner of the 2008 Keats-Shelley Prize for Poetry. He had agreed to read the poem with the children, but after his untimely death in October his daughter Clare Bailey – a teacher at Whitehill – performed alongside the pupils.

Other memorable performances also took place. Pupils from Knightsbridge School – a great supporter of Poetry Together since its inception – performed an original poem ‘The Queen’. Then Roy Palmer, a Chelsea Pensioner, performed his original work about nature ‘The World’s Future’, taking to the stage with fellow Chelsea Pensioner and friend Dewi Treharne.

Year 6 pupils from Lyceum School, a co-ed in the heart of the City of London, performed two moving remembrance poems, ‘In Flanders Fields’ by John McCrae and ‘Why Wear a Poppy’ by Don Crawford. There was a wonderful combined performance by St Vincent’s, a Liverpool residential school for young people with sensory impairment, and a group of care home residents. Some pupils used braille to perform the chosen poem, ‘Colour of the Wind’ by Charlie Landsborough. Pupils from Broadwater Primary School in Tooting, south London, were among those who came to enjoy the poetry performances and this very special tea party.

Find out more about Poetry Together

Further reading: Gyles Brandreth talks about the inspiration behind Poetry Together