Princess Beatrice looks elegant in a black dress as she presents an award for a children’s book

Princess Beatrice looked elegant in a black dress and white shirt with statement sleeves as she presented an award for a children’s book last night.

The royal, 30, has been a patron of Oscar’s Book Prize since 2017 and was at the event in Mayfair, London, to award this year’s winner Ed Vere for his story.

How To Be A Lion tells the story of a poem-writing lion who doesn’t want to conform to stereotype and his brave duck friend. 

The prize was founded in 2014 in memory of three-year-old Oscar Ashton who died unexpectedly from an undetected heart condition in 2012.  

Keeping her outfit simple, the princess wore a fitted white shirt with long sleeves which puffed out at the elbows.

Beatrice finished her look with delicate gold bracelets and wore her hair down for the engagement.  

She appeared relaxed at the event and was seen laughing as she read from a card and spoke to guests at the May Fair Hotel.

The princess has written about her struggles with dyslexia as a child, and how the support of her parents and the magic of stories helped her fall in love with reading. 

She told the Evening Standard that her parents would record themselves reading her favourite stories so she could fall asleep to the sound of her voices when they were travelling.

And she revealed how children’s stories inspired her as she struggled with her reading, saying: ‘I was lucky my mother, with her great imagination, took the time to work on these with me.

‘By the time I read Harry Potter aged 11, I tore through the pages’.  

Writer Ed Vere received a £5,000 award for his book How To Be A Lion, after children from Eveline Day Nursery in Wimbledon helped decide on the winner.

This was the nursery that book-loving Oscar Ashton, who the prize is dedicated too, attended before he died in 2012.

Children’s Laureate and author behind the Charlie and Lola and Clarice Bean series, Lauren Child also helped judge the entries for the prize.

She said: ‘Ed Vere understands how to pace a story, tell it beautifully, make an important point about being true to yourself and loyal to your friends.’

The jury said How To Be A Lion ‘does not preach nor resort to sentimentality but yet a very clear point is made about how it is possible to deal with those who wish to bully and intimidate’. 

Lauren was joined on the judging panel by campaigner for women and children’s health Sarah Brown, and Brigitte Ricou-Bellan, UK director of books at Amazon.  

Oscar’s parents Viveka Alvestrand and James Ashton were also judges on the panel.

Originally there were 117 entries from publishers around the UK and from this a long list of 15 books was created.

Stories about the power of self-belief, children’s mental health and even an infant criminal mastermind are represented on the shortlist of five books. 


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