The Duchess of Cornwall and Dame Joanna Lumley will appear in the first episode of a new Commonwealth-themed podcast.
The Commonwealth Poetry Podcast, hosted by award-winning podcaster Gyles Brandreth and his daughter Aphra, will air fortnightly in 54 half-hour episodes over the next two years, starting on Sunday.
With different guests in each episode, the podcast will explore the poetry, heritage and people of each of the 54 Commonwealth countries.
Brandreth told PA that having Camilla in the first episode was “an absolute treat”.
He said: “Funnily enough, even though I’m a seasoned podcaster and broadcaster, I was still a bit nervous. But honestly, it couldn’t have been easier.
“She is wonderfully relaxed. For us, recording the podcast was fascinating because you don’t often hear someone like her speak at length. But she was natural and even though we cut it down to about 40 minutes, we got about an hour of chatter.
In the first episode, recorded in the Garden Room of her London home Clarence House, Camilla talks about her travels across the Commonwealth and her favorite British poets, including Robert Burns, Ted Hughes and John Betjeman.
Camilla, Dame Joanna and Gyles and Aphra Brandreth also read poems together, encouraging people to come together for informal poetry slams over tea and coffee with friends and neighbours.
The podcast release comes just before the Prince of Wales and Camilla are due to attend the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, which is taking place in Kigali, Rwanda during the week of June 20.
Charles has been an active supporter of the Commonwealth for over 50 years and together with Camilla they have shown their support through official visits, military links, charitable activities and other special events – such as the opening of Commonwealth Games in 2010 in New Delhi, India; in 2014 in Glasgow and in 2018 on the Gold Coast, Australia.
Mr. Brandreth added: “At the end of the day, we all had fun.
We had fun talking about the Commonwealth, poetry – sometimes being serious – but also laughing. It was a joy.
“In our next episode, we visit Rwanda, a beautiful country with a troubled past, and meet a Rwandan poet who confronts both his beauty and his pain. Then it’s St Kitts and Nevis, Cameroon, the Solomon Islands, Australia, Cyprus.
“In 54 episodes, we travel the Commonwealth – home to two and a half billion people – using poetry as our guide. In some episodes there is also singing and dancing.
Gyles Brandreth is an ambassador for the Royal Commonwealth Society (Dominic Lipinski/PA)
The podcast is produced by staff and students at the University of Chester, which has listed Camilla, Dame Joanna and Gyles Brandreth among its honorary graduates. Camilla is also Countess of Chester.
University students Niall Thomas and Shantell Esse Agoreyo were present during the filming of the episode and helped create the final copy.
Brandreth, who is also the University’s Chancellor, added: “We currently have students and staff from 28 different Commonwealth countries at the University of Chester, and I am delighted that this project has provided a wonderful opportunity to showcasing impressive creative skills and talents. individuals from across the institution.