Grammar matters, by royal decree

THE Prince of Wales declared the importance of using correct grammar as he backed an appeal for funds to ensure great works of literature can be accessed in the National Libraries.

Prince Charles
Prince Charles

Charles recalled being read to as a child by his father the Duke of Edinburgh, and credited that experience with sparking his fascination with language.

Writing in the Mail on Sunday’s Event magazine he described the moment he first heard The Song Of Hiawatha by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow as “electrifying”.

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He said: “Words navigate us through life like pathfinders. As Shakespeare says at one point, ‘I shall lose my life for want of language’. I know what he means.”

Using grammar properly allows the reader to understand what the writer is trying to convey, Charles said.

“If we stop using commas, or even full stops, I do wonder how we can hope to make sense of the world. Grammar matters!” he said.

Charles is Royal Patron of the Friends of the National Libraries (FNL) charity, which has a fund in his name.

Budget cuts have made it difficult for many institutions to keep important collections open to the public, the charity said, as it appealed for donations.

Its chairman Lord Egremont said: “If FNL fails to increase, very substantially, the funds that we have to support acquisitions our nation’s story will increasingly be lost to the public domain.

“The Prince of Wales Fund will ensure we can continue to do so.”

Charles said: “Our libraries play a crucial role in preserving the letters of writers. Collections include poems, scientific discoveries as they were scribbled down in notebooks, precious bindings and even battle plans.”

He added: “To let such access wither would indeed make the world an impoverished place.”