Duchess Camilla reads 'James and the Giant Peach' for COVID-19 relief

By Heather Cichowski, with files from Zach Harper

Holy cats! Taika Waititi was joined by a very special guest in the latest episode of reading Roald Dahl's James and the Giant Peach. Duchess Camilla made a surprise appearance in the sixth instalment to help raise money for COVID-19 relief.

The Jojo Rabbit director has teamed up with several celebrities including Meryl Streep, Benedict Cumberbatch and Ryan Reynolds for readings of the classic 1961 book to raise funds during the coronavirus pandemic.

Camilla had a special role for the episode released on May 27. Prince Charles's wife played the surprised captain of The Queen Mary, who spots the giant peach and instructs his crew to tell the Queen!

Lupita Nyong’o and Josh Gad also appeared earlier in the episode, before the duchess's surprise appearance.

"Do you want me to do captain?" Josh asked.

"I did this morning," Taika cheekily said.

Josh asked who the filmmaker did the part with.

"Quick costume change," Taika responded to the camera and snapped his fingers.

The director then appeared in a new outfit. His wave-printed button-down was replaced by a beige shirt.

"Hello, Taika," said Camilla, appearing on the screen.

He thanked her "so much" for doing the reading.

"I'm thrilled to do it, not that I'm much of an actor, but I shall do my best," replied Camilla laughing before getting right into the part of the captain.

"Me, neither," responded Taika, despite the funny man having acting and comedy experience.

"I don't like it," Camilla stated dramatically, as she read the part of the stunned captain seeing the giant peach.

Taika covered the roles of the first and second officers and used a range of voices.

"...That's it, it's a secret weapon," stated the Duchess of Cornwall.

"Holy cats!" cried the 72-year old. "Send a message to the Queen at once! The country must be warned, and give me my telescope!"

Camilla and Taika ended the classic novel with enthusiasm.

"I don't think we did badly at all," remarked Camilla.

The filmmaker thanked her for participating before snapping his fingers and switching back into his original outfit. He ended the instalment with Josh and Lupita.

MORE: Ryan Reynolds and Taika Waititi read 'James and the Giant Peach' for COVID-19 relief

Other episodes of Taika's reading series have featured many famous faces. Chris and Liam Hemsworth plus Nick Kroll appeared on the first instalment. Meryl Streep and Benedict Cumberbatch were in episode two, Sarah Paulson and Cate Blanchett in episode three, and Cara Delevingne and Olivia Wilde in episode four. Episode five featured Ryan Reynolds with Taika. And there are many more stars involved in the project!

"The campaign by The Roald Dahl Story Company aims to support charities impacted by COVID-19, including @partnersinhealth and @roalddahlcharity, of which Her Royal Highness is Patron," Clarence House explained on Instagram.

"I hope this campaign will raise vital funds to support those most in need at this very challenging time – as well as helping families and children currently in lockdown to find a moment of comfort through the joy of reading," Camilla said in a statement.

New episodes of the series air Monday, Wednesday and Friday on Roald Dahl's official YouTube channel at 6 p.m. BST/1 p.m. EST/10 a.m. PST. If you'd like to make a donation to Partners in Health, The Roald Dahl Story Company and those it has partnered with at this time will match your financial gift.

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