Today (24 July) Her Majesty visited Anna Sewell House in Norfolk, where Anna Sewell was born in 1820. Redwings took over guardianship of the property last July when the owner approached the charity about occupying the building.
The Queen toured the building and met charity staff and trustees who talked with her about Anna and the influence her novel Black Beauty had on animal welfare. She also viewed early editions of the novel, including an English first edition featuring Anna’s original dedication to her aunts, and an American first edition, loaned by the Norfolk Library and Information Service. The Queen also met Redwings Shetland ponies Moses and Dhansak.
“It was a huge honour that Her Majesty The Queen chose to visit Anna Sewell House, which Redwings has been the custodian of since last year. We had a wonderful day,” said Redwings chief executive Lynn Cuttress.
“We understand that Black Beauty was The Queen’s favourite book as a child, and she told us that she was very excited to be visiting the house where the author of the novel was born and lived. Black Beauty is one of the selected books being promoted by Her Majesty’s own literacy charity, The Queen’s Reading Room.”
Ms Cuttress added that Black Beauty played an important part in drawing attention to horse welfare and is therefore “intertwined” with Redwings’ own story of “rescuing, rehoming, and giving a forever home to those who need it”.
Black Beauty was one of the first English novels to be written from the horse’s perspective and one of a select few books that has sold more than 50 million copies worldwide. Anna died less than a year after it was published in 1877.
The Queen signed special copies of Redwings and the USEA Publishing Project’s new edition of the novel, edited by professor Thomas Ruys Smith, which will raise money for Redwings and is available to pre-order.
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