Budding authors and eager bookworms have been given a royal seal of approval.

HRH Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall appeared at Wimbledon Chase Primary School yesterday to encourage young writers.

Headteacher Sue Tomes said: “It was fantastic - I couldn’t have asked for anything better.”

The royal guest spoke to staff and pupils - many of whom were dresses as their favourite book characters - in a tour of the Merton Hall Road school’s classrooms before reading from Winnie the Pooh in a special assembly. She also shook the hands of wellwishers in an unscheduled appearance outside the school buildings.

Ms Tomes said: “She could recognise what people were dressed as - she had a word for everyone.”

Camilla’s visit marked the launch of Wimbledon Bookfest’s young writers’ competition. Children from schools across Merton will submit their stories, with the winners to be revealed at Wimbledon’s annual literary festival in October.

Other guest included actors and Wimbledon residents Timothy West and Prunella Scales, as well as the mayor of Merton and senior council officers.