THE Duchess of York has revealed that her daughter, Princess Beatrice, suffers from dyslexia.

The 16-year-old, who is due to sit her GCSE examinations this summer, is receiving extra tuition to help her with reading and writing and will continue to do so "for the foreseeable future", her mother said.

Details of Princess Beatrice's condition emerged during a visit by her mother to Oliver Goldsmith School in Peckham, south London, the primary school of Damilola Taylor, the 10-year-old boy who was murdered on his way home from class five years ago.

The duchess, who was there in her capacity as patron of the charity Springboard For Children, which assists dyslexic pupils at over-stretched inner-city schools, said that Beatrice was very "proud" that everyone should know about her literacy problem - which was discovered when she was seven years old.

"She said, 'Please tell everybody because it's very important', " the duchess explained.

"She loves history - coming from Queen Victoria and her family, she wanted to learn about history but she couldn't because she couldn't read.

"She is such a kind person.

She didn't get frustrated."

Her mother continued:

"If you don't educate, it's ignorance. I couldn't bear to condemn my daughter to no prospects.

"If you don't teach children to read and write, you are condemning them to seclusion, unemployment and crime and there's nothing more frustrating than to be unable to express yourself - they end up going down that vicious circle.

"Imagine if I didn't realise my daughterwas dyslexic - she would be having such a problem. She now goes out in public and speaks because she has been listened to.

"Doesn't every child have the right to be listened to?"

Dyslexia causes difficulties in learning to read, write and spell. Short-term memory, mathematics, concentration and personal organisation may also be affected.

The duchess added that Beatrice, who will be 17 in August, receives help from the Helen Arkell Dyslexia Centre, and is now catching up with her peers.

"She is very good at oral French, drama, numbers, just like her mother, " she said.

"As soon as you understand something you get confidence.

If you understand something the light goes on."

During her visit to the school, the duchess met pupils aged five to 11 who are receiving special help with reading and writing from Springboard volunteers.

The charity works with pupils who are typically two years behind in basic literacy skills. When they finish the programme, some 96-per cent have reached their appropriate reading age.

Dyslexia is biological in origin and tends to run in families.

Adrian Pritchard, chief executive of Springboard, estimated that there are around 250,000 schoolchildren in the UK who are illiterate.

He said: "Unless they are taught and encouraged they face failure at every turn.

"Unfortunately the link between people who fail at school and those in youth custody is also very high."

Fiona Hird, chief executive of Dyslexia Scotland, said the organisation was anticipating an increased response from the public as a result of the announcement.

She said: "It is good that someone like her has come out about the condition as it raises the profile.

"Obviously Beatrice has been diagnosed early and will get the help she needs, but we would hope all young dyslexic people receive the support and encouragement they need to achieve their potential."

The Scottish Executive recently promised pounds-100,000 in funding over the next two years to help schools supporting dyslexic children.

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