The Queen Consort has delivered what appears to be criticism at the changes made to Roald Dahl books, calling on authors to hold the line when it comes to “freedom of expression”.
British author Roald Dahl’s enormously popular children’s books have recently fallen victim to politically correctness which has seen alterations to new editions of his legendary works.
The Roald Dahl estate and book publisher Puffin decided to make these changes, so the books “can continue to be enjoyed by all today”. In doing so they have removed words that could be deemed offensive to some readers.
Dahl was responsible for a raft of memorable books, such as “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”, “Matilda”, “James and the Giant Peach”, and “Fantastic Mr Fox”.
Speaking at a Clarence House reception to mark the second anniversary of her online book club, Camilla Parker Bowles – the wife of King Charles III – told an audience of writers: “Please remain true to your calling, unimpeded by those who may wish to curb the freedom of your expression or impose limits on your imagination.”
“Enough said,” she added with a smile. Her comments were greeted by laughter and encouraging calls of “hear, hear”.
Camilla, who was joined by the King at the event, announced that the Queen’s Reading Room had become her first charity and the first in her name.
There have been hundreds of changes to Dahl’s original texts, removing and rephrasing references to weight, mental health and gender to minimize offence.
Some of the most notable alterations include a description of Augustus Gloop, from “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”, who is now portrayed as “enormous” as opposed to “fat”, which has been taken out of every book according to The Telegraph.
Mrs Twit, from “The Twits”, is now described as “beastly” no longer “ugly and beastly”. The word “weird” was also removed from the sentence “a weird African language”. “Crazy” and ‘mad’ have also been taken out of the books.
The changes have been made to the new editions of Dahl’s stories published by Puffin, with the approval of the Roald Dahl Story Company. The review began in 2020 when the company was still run by the Dahl family, and concluded last year after the estate was sold to Netflix.
French publisher Gallimard, however, has said it had no intention of making changes to translated versions of the children’s books, unlike the author’s UK publisher.
“Change a text today without [the author’s] consent? No,” Hedwige Pasquet, director of Gallimard Jeunesse, said in an interview with Le Figaro newspaper.
Many literary commentators have criticized the changes, highlighting that when a fictional character could not be called fat or ugly, the egalitarian outlook advocated by those responsible for the edits is embarking on a dangerous path.