Duchess Camilla reveals the moment she was ‘most frightened’ in her entire life

Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall attends a Service of Thanksgiving for the life and work of Sir Donald Gosling at Westminster Abbey on December 11, 2019
(Image credit: Photo by Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)

Duchess Camilla has opened up in a heartfelt new video to share the experience that has frightened her the most “in her life, ever”. 

Duchess Camilla got candid as she discussed the work of acclaimed author Susan Hill in an enlightening new video for her online book club. The Duchess of Cornwall launched her Reading Room earlier this year on Instagram and previously teamed up with Normal People star Daisy Edgar-Jones for a special video. An avid reader herself, Camilla encourages fellow bookworms to share their love of all things literary and connect over her picks.

The Season 3 list was announced last month, including works by acclaimed authors Kazuo Ishiguro, Susan Hill, Elizabeth Jane Howard and Michael Morpurgo. 

And it was whilst discussing Susan Hill’s work on the Reading Room Instagram account that Duchess Camilla shared a terrifying moment from her past. 

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In an enlightening video, the Duchess of Cornwall described how she was once taken to see The Woman in Black. The gothic play is based on the book of the same name written by Susan, published in 1983. And it seems Duchess Camilla wasn’t quite prepared for the shocking scenes that lay ahead...

“The first time I ever heard of Susan Hill I was taken to see the play, The Woman in Black,” Camilla declared. “And I have never, ever, been so frightened in my life, ever!” 

“In fact, I think I went with a friend,” Camilla continued as she reflected back on the memorable occasion. “I think we almost ran out, we were so frightened. The moment when, you know, not to spoil it, but it’s a very frightening moment.” 

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Whilst she didn’t confirm how old she was at the time she saw The Woman in Black, Camilla’s memory of genuine fear all these years later is certainly heart-wrenching. Though that hasn’t stopped the Duchess of Cornwall from enjoying many of Susan’s works.

Camilla went on to discuss one this season's four Reading Room picks - Susan's The Various Haunts of Men. And it was then that the senior royal spoke of the impact Susan's books continue to have upon her. 

“She just sort of draws you into the story and the Serrailler series she sent to me when she wrote the first one, saying you know, you might be interested in this," Camilla explained. "Well, I rather sort of fell for the hero, Simon.” 

Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall reads a story to children as she visits a community project called 'Neighbourhood House' on the fourth day of a visit to the United States on March 20, 2015

The series follows policeman Simon Serrailler as he rises through the ranks of the force, his own journey intertwined with the tragedies and joys of his family. And though whilst this may sound far removed from The Woman in Black, Camilla shared that there are also some “dark tales” within the books.

“She’s a past master at writing about those sort of dark things,” the Duchess declared. 

If Duchess Camilla’s intriguing reaction to Susan Hill’s books hasn’t already got you eager to try them, we don’t know what will! 

Emma Shacklock
Senior Lifestyle Writer

Emma is a Senior Lifestyle Writer with six years of experience working in digital publishing, ranging from book publishing to magazines. She currently looks after all things Lifestyle for Woman&Home, Goodto.com, and My Imperfect Life.