Lucy Worsley

What books did you read when you were a child?
I read historical novels by Jean Plaidy, and I think it was the one called The Young Elizabeth, which had a picture of Hampton Court Palace on its cover, that inspired me to want to work at Hampton Court Palace (today I'm the Chief Curator there). My own copy was given to me by the girl who lived next door - and only recently I noticed that she must have stolen it from the library of our school. It's still got the library ticket in the back of it! I also liked The Young Mary Queen Of Scots and, oh, lots of other Jean Plaidy books.

If you could be a storybook character who would you be?
I really like Snufkin from the Moomin books. He's a poet, he seems very wise and the other characters look up to him, and he likes walking by himself and camping by himself in his tent in the woods of Moominvalley. He wears a lovely little pointed hat to keep the rain off. In fact he only has one flaw, which is that he smokes.

What is the best thing about reading?
I like the way it makes you forget who and where you are: it can transport you out of the nasty dingy present day and take you somewhere wonderful instead.

What is your all time favourite book?
My all time favourite book is by Tove Jansson, and it's called Moominvalley In November.

Other than reading books what is the most important thing a parent can do to help develop their children’s communication skills?
Get your kids to join a drama club. Putting on a play or a show is just the best thing in the world, you have such a great time doing it you don't realise what new skills you're developing at the same time.

How big a part did your parents play in encouraging your writing skills?
Both of my parents were involved in teaching, in one way or another, so we always had a lot of books in the house. Even so, they thought that I spent too much time reading, and would often try to stop me, and make me go outside to play in the garden or whatever. In fact I made a rule for myself that I really ought not to read for more than two hours continuously in the holidays.

How do you encourage your children or grandchildren to read, what books do you enjoy reading with them?
Obviously I would recommend reading them Eliza Rose and My Name Is Victoria, my historical novels for 11 plus readers, about growing up at the Tudor and Victorian courts respectively. The stories will show you that living in a palace isn't always fun!

Lucy Worsley is, by day, Chief Curator at Historic Royal Palaces, the independent charity that looks after The Tower of London, Hampton Court Palace, Kensington Palace State Apartments, the Banqueting House in Whitehall, and Kew Palace in Kew Gardens. By night, she is a writer and presenter, and has written two young adult novels, Eliza Rose and My Name Is Victoria.

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