Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, joins star-studded cast led by Thor director for royal acting debut

Rebecca Taylor
Royal Correspondent

The Duchess of Cornwall has added her name to the list of acting royals, alongside her husband Charles and her step-daughter-in-law Meghan Markle as she lends her voice to a retelling of James and the Giant Peach.

Camilla has joined a star-studded cast led by director Taika Waititi for her first character role since she joined the Royal Family.

The 72-year-old duchess played the ship’s captain who spots the giant peach flying overhead.

She says: “Holy cats! Send a message to the Queen at once! The country must be warned!”  

Oscar-winner Lupita Nyong’o, actor and comedian Josh Gad are in the same episode, narrated by Academy Award-nominated Waititi.

Camilla read from James and the Giant Peach in her first character role. (Clarence House/Roald Dahl Story Company)

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Meryl Streep, Ryan Reynolds and Benedict Cumberbatch have appeared in some of the other episodes.

In a short clip of the duchess released by The Roald Dahl Story Company, Waititi speaks to comedian Gad about who else he has got in the episode, and the camera cuts to Camilla.

She tells Waititi “I’m not much of an actor” before they delve into the story.

James and Giant Peach, with Taika and Friends is raising money for Partners In Health, a medical and social justice organisation working on the coronavirus response in vulnerable communities.

The Duchess of Cornwall said: “I hope this campaign will raise vital funds to support those most in need at this very challenging time – as well as helping families and children currently in lockdown to find a moment of comfort through the joy of reading.”  

The duchess is a patron of Roald Dahl's Marvellous Children's Charity and her passion for reading is evident in much of her royal work.

The duchess on a zoom call with Taika Waititi. (Clarence House/Roald Dahl Story Company)

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Earlier this month she joined David Walliams on a video call to chat about the Queen’s Commonwealth Essay competition.

And she also shared her favourite books to inspire people to read during lockdown.

While the duchess may not have much of an acting background, her husband Prince Charles certainly does, as he was part of drama societies at university.

And of course Meghan, now the Duchess of Sussex, was best known for her role as Rachel Zane in Suits.

The series is being narrated by Taika Waititi. (Clarence House/Roald Dahl Story Company)

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Luke Kelly, managing director of The Roald Dahl Story Company said: “Our goal is to bring joy and escapism to children and families at this very tough time – but also to raise vital funds for Partners in Health who are working on the front line in the fight against COVID-19.  

“The participation of Her Royal Highness is a very special moment in this campaign and we feel so privileged to have her involvement – we know parents and children in lockdown all over the world are going to love this episode and we look forward to revealing further surprises in due course.” 

The episode premieres on YouTube at 2pm BST on 27 May.