The Duchess of Cornwall: Best of 2020
The Duchess of Cornwall played a huge role this year, stepping up as one of the half dozen or so members of the family who regularly partook in zoom calls, telephone chats, and (when safe) in person engagements. A particular focus for her was on domestic violence as many victims suddenly found themselves trapped at home with their abusers and nowhere to go. Her work during the pandemic was a continuation and update of the work she has been passionate about for years surrounding the topics of animals, literacy, the elderly, the military and children with life-limiting conditions. On top of continuing her existing work she spent more time focused on healthcare and essential workers and promoting businesses and organizations who were briefly able to reopen. Keep reading to find out my favorite moments with the Duchess of Cornwall in 2020.
10. Joint Engagement with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge
Prior to the pandemic the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall were joined by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge at the Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre in Loughborough. During their visit they met wheelchair Basketball players, with Prince William trying his hand at it with some help from his father. I absolutely love seeing the family together and hope that 2021 will bring many more joint visits like this one.
9. Festival of Remembrance Speeches
The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall were the sole representatives for the family during the Royal British Legions festival of Remembrance. In her role as Commodore-in-chief of the Royal Naval Medical Service, the Duchess gave a speech applauding the incredible work of military and civilian nurses. This year has given a glimpse into the future as the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall have progressively stepped up as Her Majesty the Queen nears her mid-nineties. Recording a speech for an auspicious event like the Festival of Remembrance shows the role that Camilla will continue to play in the future and demonstrates what an incredible job she will do when it is time.
8. Children's Hospice Week Call with Catherine
Have I mentioned I really enjoy joint engagements? The Duchess of Cornwall joined by the Duchess of Cambridge spoke with representatives, volunteers and those supported by Children's Hospice South West, Helen and Douglas House and East Anglia's Children's Hospice for Children's Hospice week in June. Both Duchesses have worked with Children's hospices for several years and during the call they heard about how coronavirus has affected the care they are able to provide.
7. Decorating Christmas Trees Virtually
In a normal year the Duchess of Cornwall would have hosted the children from Helen & Douglas House for an afternoon of holiday activities at Clarence House. However, this year the kids were unable to visit due to the ongoing pandemic. Rather than abandon the tradition, Camilla (a self-proclaimed technophobe) hosted the kids virtually, allowing them to choose where a special ornament with their name on it would go on the tree. As the kids supported by Helen & Douglas house face life-limiting conditions, it was the only opportunity for many of them to attend the event, making it all the more special that the Duchess of Cornwall made sure the tradition continued on.
6. Supporting Elderly People
The Duchess of Cornwall has been making calls and writing letters to elderly and vulnerable people throughout the pandemic. She spoke to Betty who is 90-years-old and had been self isolating in Hampshire. The Duchess originally met Betty when she visited the charities headquarters in 2017. Camilla also met with 86-year-old Doris Winfield during a visit to the Royal Voluntary Service Lunch Club in Rickmansworth. Camilla and Doris spoke on the phone during lockdown and have been exchanging letters ever since. Elderly people, being in a more vulnerable group, have been forced to isolate from friends and family for their health and safety. Groups like Age UK and Silver Line have been working to connect them with volunteers to help relieve some of the loneliness that isolation has created.
5. Leading VE Day's 75th Anniversary with the Prince of Wales
Yet another sign of the Duchess of Cornwall's growing role within the family, she joined the Prince of Wales in Scotland to lead the country in a two minute silence on VE Day to mark the 75th anniversary. The event would have typically been led by the Queen but with Covid, Charles and Camilla stepped up to lead the auspicious day. While the pandemic has been horribly difficult, the Duchess of Cornwall has proved herself time and time again for her ability to keep calm in crisis and carry on with the important work of supporting and celebrating invaluable organizations, charities and volunteers who all worked overtime the entire year.
4. Visiting Covid Sniffing Dogs
Camilla is a massive dog lover and supports charities and rescues throughout the U.K. who help animals (she rescued both of her dogs from Battersea House). This year her focus shifted to the incredible medical detection dogs who are being trained to sniff Covid with the goal of identifying it in people. Camilla is patron of Medical Detection Dogs and visited their training centres this fall. The dogs have the potential to test up to 250 people an hour and could be used in airports, arenas or concert halls to identify even asymptomatic people.
3. Launch of #EveryonesProblem
One of the few big projects that launched this year prior to lockdown, The Duchess of Cornwall gave a speech during the opening of the Women of the World Festival on why domestic violence is #EveryonesProblem. The speech marked the launch of a new campaign for Safelives to change the conversation around domestic violence. The Duchess of Cornwall is patron of Safe Lives, a charity whose aim is to permanently end domestic violence and abuse. Her work on the project continued after lockdown as many victims found themselves trapped at home with their abusers. She shared resources and ways for those affected by domestic violence to find help.
2. Interview with Emma Barnett
This summer the Duchess of Cornwall spoke with Emma Barnett during a special guest-edited episode of the Emma Barnett show. During their conversation they spoke about the struggles they faced in Lockdown (Camilla admitted to the difficulties of not being able to hug her grandchildren) and the charity work she had been doing, specifically with support for elderly people and domestic abuse victims and survivors. Camilla's self-deprecating humour was on display as she laughed about her struggles with technology as well as dubbing herself a silver swan.
1. Appointment as Colonel-in-Chief of the Rifles
The Duchess of Cornwall officially began Colonel-in-Chief of the Rifles, an appointment passed down from the Duke of Edinburgh. While Prince Philip retired in 2017, several of his military appointments and roles remained with him. The official ceremony took place at Windsor Castle and Highgrove House as it is where each of them spent quarantine. The appointment was another vote of confidence for the Duchess of Cornwall who has been taking an increasingly large role in the last several years. The engagement was also particularly special as the Duke is not often seen in public since his retirement.