The Duchess of Cornwall attends an award ceremony at Buckingham Palace
The Duchess of Cornwall congratulated winners of the Commonwealth Essay Competition at Buckingham Palace today.
Her Royal Highness held a reception on behalf of The Queen to honour those who impressed the judges in the world's oldest and largest schools international writing contest.
Raniya Hosain, 15, from Lahore, Pakistan, who wrote a descriptive essay about Pakistan's contribution to the Commonwealth, won the senior category.
Ten-year-old Max de Bourcier from Jersey penned a witty piece on being a team player which landed him the junior prize. Both were given gold pens.
Raniya said: "When I found out about my success I was numb with shock, and then the elation set in. It's amazing to be here with my fellow winners from different parts of the Commonwealth."
Guests at the event included Ghanaian author Margaret Busby.
The Duchess of Cornwall presents Selina Xu, 16, Senior Runner Up, from Nanyang Girls' High School, Singapore with her award
The Commonwealth Essay Competition was founded in 1883. This year, it received nearly 10,000 entries from more than 500 schools in 44 Commonwealth nations.
The theme of the 2014 competition was the Commonwealth Year Theme - Team Commonwealth.
Next year, the contest will be renamed The Queen's Commonwealth Essay Competition in honour of The Queen's role as both head of the Commonwealth and Patron of the Royal Commonwealth Society.
Mike Lake, director of the Royal Commonwealth Society, said: "This year's winners, drawn from the four corners of the globe, wrote on different topics, but are united in one thing - their determination to have their voices heard.
"That is what lies at the heart of the competition. Youth voice, a perspective vital to the future of the Commonwealth."
The Duchess of Cornwall is a keen supporter of promoting literacy for everyone, and works in a number of ways to do this, including being Patron of a number of charitable organisations working in this field such as the National Literacy Trust, BookTrust, First Story, the Wicked Young Writers’ Award
and most recently Beanstalk.