Queen Consort Camilla has hosted a reception at Buckingham Palace with guests including Spice Girl Mel B, Queen Rania of Jordan and Crown Princess Mary of Denmark.
Camilla, 75, held the event in London today to raise awareness of violence against women and girls, as part of the United Nations’ 16 days of activism against gender-based violence.
The reception was attended by around 300 people including survivors and their families, as well as famous faces including television presenter Lorraine Kelly, reality TV star Zara McDermott as well as Ukraine’s First Lady Olena Zelenska.
Queen Mathilde of Belgium, the First Lady of Sierra Leone, as well as the Countess of Wessex, and former prime minister Boris Johnson’s wife Carrie and his sister Rachel Johnson were also present.
Queen Consort Camilla has hosted a reception at Buckingham Palace with guests including Spice Girl Mel B, Queen Rania of Jordan and Crown Princess Mary of Denmark. Pictured, Sophie Wessex, Queen Mathilde of Belgium, Camilla, Rania, Mary
Camilla, 75, held the event in London today to raise awareness of violence against women and girls, as part of the United Nations’ 16 days of activism against gender-based violence. Pictured, the royal with Mel B (left) and Zara McDermott (right)
The guests also included politicians and charity representatives from SafeLives, Women’s Aid and Refuge.
Camilla – who made a powerful speech at the event – spoke with Home Secretary Suella Braverman and Health Secretary Steve Barclay in the white drawing room of the palace.
Dressed in her signature leopard print, former Spice Girl Melanie Brown, who was made an MBE for her work with domestic violence charity Women’s Aid, was seen chatting to Camilla, who opted to wear an elegant white frock.
The Queen Consort also spoke to TV personality Zara McDermott – who has spoken previously of her efforts to end the scourge of ‘revenge porn’.
The reception was attended by around 300 people including survivors and their families, as well as famous faces including television presenter Lorraine Kelly, reality TV star Zara McDermott as well as Ukraine’s First Lady Olena Zelenska
Queen Mathilde of Belgium, the First Lady of Sierra Leone, as well as the Countess of Wessex , and former prime minister Boris Johnson’s wife Carrie and his sister Rachel Johnson were also present. Pictured, the royal with Mel B
The guests also included politicians and charity representatives from SafeLives, Women’s Aid and Refuge
Last month, in what could be seen as an indication of how important the issue is to Camilla, she used her first solo engagement in her new royal title to meet domestic abuse workers at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital.
All of Camilla’s Queen’s companions – who were announced at the weekend – appeared publicly with her for the first time at the reception.
Buckingham Palace has said the 75-year-old will have six Queen’s companions, not traditional ladies-in-waiting, who are all trusted friends and will support her as she carries out her key official and state duties.
Yesterday, Camilla hosted Queen Rania and Princess Mary at Clarence House ahead of the reception.
Camilla looked effortlessly elegant in a blue dress when appearing in a photograph alongside the two other royal ladies.
Yesterday, Camilla hosted Queen Rania and Princess Mary at Clarence House ahead of the reception
Appearing equally sophisticated, Rania, 52, opted for a teal frock with gem encrusted cuffs and matching heels, while Australian-born Mary, 50, looked picture perfect in a monochrome check skirt, paired with a black blouse.
The photograph of Rania, Camilla and Mary, who is married to the heir to the Danish throne Crown Prince of Denmark Frederik, was shared to Instagram by the Queen of Jordan.
‘A lovely afternoon with Her Majesty Queen Consort Camilla and Her Royal Highness Crown Princess Mary of Denmark,’ Rania’s caption read.
Meanwhile, Ms Zelenska said it ‘means a lot’ to have been invited to the palace event.
Speaking to the PA news agency through a translator, she said it is important that the democratic world unites in the face of violence against women and girls.
She said many rapes had been committed since the invasion of Ukraine.
‘It means a lot to be here,’ Ms Zelenska said. ‘We now face a huge amount of rapes of Ukrainian women and children by Russian soldiers.
‘This afternoon I will have the honour to speak in front of the Parliament of the UK. The youngest victim of rape (in Ukraine) is four and eldest is 85.
‘When the efforts of the democratic world unite to combat challenges like this, it always gives hope that we will win.’
IN FULL: SPEECH BY THE QUEEN CONSORT AT THE ‘VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN AND GIRLS’ RECEPTION AT BUCKINGHAM PALACE
‘Your Majesties, Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Buckingham Palace as we gather on the fifth of the “16 days of activism against gender-based violence”.
These 16 days mark the UN’s annual campaign that runs from 25th November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, to 10th December, Human Rights Day. Throughout the world, individuals and organisations are coming together to call for the prevention and elimination of violence against women and girls. Why?
Because over a period of 16 days, worldwide, more than 2,000 women will be killed by a partner or a member of their own family. Because, in England and Wales alone, during that same period, police will record that more than 3,000 women have been raped. And because up to 1 in 3 women across the globe will endure domestic violence in the course of their lifetime. Behind every one of these statistics lie individual stories of human suffering and heartbreak.
We are uniting today to confront, rightly, what has rightly been called a global pandemic of violence against women. Faced with such challenges, it can be hard to know what practical steps we can take to even begin to make a difference.
Over the years, in my previous role, I had the privilege of meeting many survivors of rape and domestic abuse; and of sharing in the sorrow of people who had lost family members to violence. And again and again, I heard that two of the most powerful ways in which to help were to remember and to listen.
We remember those women who have lost their lives at the hands of a stranger, or of the person who should have loved them best. In so doing, we refuse to be desensitised by cold facts and figures and we resolve to keep the names and the memories of these women alive. We remember Brenda Blainey, Mariam Kamara, Lucy Powell, Samantha Drummonds, Yasmin Begum, Sally Turner, Hina Bashir, Jillu Nash and her 12-year-old daughter Louise, to name but a very few of those who have been killed this year alone. And we remember – because we cannot forget – all the other women and girls who died in similarly horrific circumstances.
These women, tragically, can no longer speak for themselves. But we listen to those who can. I have learnt from my conversations with these brave survivors that what they want, above all, is to be listened to and believed, to prevent the same thing happening to others. They know there is power in their stories and that, in the telling, they move from being the victims of their histories to the authors of their own futures.
I have heard countless examples of the ways in which victims have become victors, using their experiences to hold out a hand to help others escape abuse. One such person, Vicky, left a violent relationship and her ex-partner was sent to prison. Knowing what it was like to live in permanent fear, she started working for the police, supporting victims and witnesses of crime. Today, she is an Independent Domestic Violence Adviser and says of herself, “There is life after abuse. I am evidence of that”.
Ladies and gentlemen, your vital work is, in the same way, evidence that there is life after abuse. You are also evidence that we can have hope as we head towards our goal of ending violence against women and girls. Armed with that hope, let us press on. Let us not lose this precious opportunity to speak up and to galvanise action that will see the end of these heinous crimes forever. With determination and courage, we will succeed. Thank you.’