Princess Beatrice, patron of the Farnham-based Helen Arkell Dyslexia Charity, hosted a tea party at St James’s Palace on Wednesday, February 7 for the charity’s supporters. 

Princess Beatrice opened proceedings by talking about her long association with the Helen Arkell Dyslexia Charity, initially having received help from the charity before then joining officially as patron.

She spoke openly about her own personal experience of dyslexia, and her determination to “change the narrative” so people with dyslexia are appreciated for all the many attributes they bring to the world. 

Her Royal Highness also listened intently to an address by Jemima Spurr, who gave an emotional account of her own personal journey with dyslexia. Jemima described the part that Helen Arkell Dyslexia Charity has played, helping her to maximise the many positive gifts that are so often associated with dyslexia, including the ability to “think outside the box”. 

“I was so excited to meet Princess Beatrice”, said Jemima. “She came straight over to congratulate me on my speech and to thank me for sharing my story. She wished me luck for when I run the London Marathon in aid of Helen Arkell Charity.” 

Princess Beatrice was delighted to meet the charity’s closest supporters who had travelled from far and wide to attend, with Lynn and Christopher Pan having flown in especially from Switzerland to be part of this special event, having supported the charity’s work through their Charitable Trust. Her Royal Highness also met actress Susan Hampshire CBE, and Roger Jefcoate CBE, who are vice patrons of the charity, as well as family members of the charity’s founder, the late Helen Arkell MBE.

During the tea party, Princess Beatrice also met well-known entrepreneur Theo Paphitis, of Dragons’ Den fame, who has set up a Dyslexia Bursary from which Helen Arkell Dyslexia Charity is training teachers from State Schools across the UK, so they can better support dyslexic learners in their classrooms. 

Vickie Kennish, long-standing volunteer and supporter of the charity, was delighted to meet the charity’s patron. “What a wonderful experience it was to talk with Princess Beatrice over a cup of tea in this amazing palace,” she said. “It was such a magical event that I will never forget, and I feel inspired to help the charity to do even more for people with dyslexia.”

Now based in Farnham, but formerly in Frensham, the Helen Arkell Dyslexia Charity has been supporting people with dyslexia since 1971. The charity’s mission is to remove barriers to learning, employment and life for people with dyslexia by providing expert, personal and life-changing support.

The charity helps over a thousand children, young people and adults each year, as well as giving advice and support to parents of dyslexic children, employers, workplaces, schools and communities. The charity also trains teachers and teaching assistants in the support of dyslexic pupils.

The charity’s latest drive is to reach out to disadvantaged communities, providing increasing levels of free support to people from lower income backgrounds. 

To donate to the charity’s work or for more information, visit