The Duchess of Cornwall has said she is ‘very honoured’ to have been endorsed by the Queen as a future Queen Consort.
During a tour of a west London community kitchen, Camilla was asked by a visitor, who gave his name as DJ, how she felt about the title.
The duchess replied: ‘I feel very honoured – very honoured and very touched.’
Camilla, 74, was visiting the Nourish Hub kitchen in Notting Hill, west London, to mark its opening as the royal patron of Harvest UK, the charity which runs it.
Earlier today, she met former Love Island star Zara McDermott and discussed her experience of revenge porn and assault on a visit to Padding Haven, a sexual assault referral centre.
Her engagements have gone ahead despite Charles, 73, testing positive for Covid-19 for a second time on Thursday morning because the Duchess is not required to self-isolate under current Covid rules because she is fully vaccinated.
Aides said the prince was found to be positive during a routine test – which suggested he was experiencing no strong symptoms – but they declined to go into further details on his medical condition.
The Duchess of Cornwall with the chair of the National Sexual Abuse and Assault Services Laura Currer, reality TV star Zara McDermott and Nicola, a sexual assault surviver, during a visit at the clinic Paddington Haven, a sexual assault referral centre in West London
Camilla, 74, was visiting the Nourish Hub kitchen in Notting Hill, west London, to mark its opening as the royal patron of Harvest UK, the charity which runs it
The Duchess of Cornwall shook hands with Sadiq Khan on arrival at the clinic Paddington Haven, a sexual assault referral centre in West London
At the clinic the Duchess of Cornwall met Nicola, left, a sexual assault survivor, Chair of the National Sexual Abuse and Assault Services Laura Currer, background left and Zara McDermott, right
A message on the prince’s official Twitter page read: ‘This morning The Prince of Wales has tested positive for COVID-19 and is now self-isolating. HRH is deeply disappointed not to be able to attend today’s events in Winchester and will look to reschedule his visit as soon as possible.’
A spokesman added: ‘The Duchess of Cornwall has routinely tested negative today. She is on a separate series of engagements from the Prince of Wales.’
It comes a day after Boris Johnson announced he plans to axe all virus restrictions in England by the end of the month which would mean even those who have tested positive for the virus will not be required to self-isolate, ‘provided the current encouraging trends in the data continue’.
Currently, people who develop Covid symptoms or test positive must self-isolate for 10 days (or five full days following two negative lateral flow test results).
Last night the pair rubbed shoulders with VIPs including Priti Patel and Rishi Sunak at a British Asian Trust reception at the British Museum.
This afternoon Camilla spoke with volunteers, and refugees from West London Welcome charity, who were cooking a rice-based Iranian dish called Loobia Polo for visitors.
The duchess spoke with every guest and volunteer at the venue, and added a touch of saffron to the dish.
Gianni, 59, a local resident who was visiting the kitchen, presented the duchess with a bouquet of flowers, to which she replied: ‘Grazie.’
Gianni, 59, a local resident who was visiting the kitchen, presented the duchess with a bouquet of flowers, to which she replied: ‘Grazie’
At Paddington Haven he duchess chatted to staff and three female survivors including former Love Island star Zara McDermott, second from right, who has been a victim of both revenge porn and sexual assault
Camilla spoke to three women about their experiences and heard about the importance of Sexual Assault Referral Centres
The Duchess of Cornwall has been a long time advocate for better support for the victims of sexual assault
The Duchess of Cornwall spoke to Love Island star Zara McDermott (right) about her experience as a victim of revenge porn and sexual assault
The visit was among Camilla’s first public royal duties since being endorsed by the Queen as a future Queen Consort.
Before her visit to the food kitchen on Thursday, Camilla also spoke with staff at Paddington Haven, a sexual assault referral centre in west London, and she will be appearing at Thames Valley Partnership in Aylesbury, another charity for domestic abuse survivors, in the afternoon.
Camilla’s visit to Paddington Haven coincides with a new NHS campaign to raise awareness of the work of Sexual Assault Referral Centres (SARCs).
The duchess chatted to staff and three female survivors including former Love Island star Zara McDermott, who has been a victim of both revenge porn and sexual assault.
She told the royal: ‘I have spent the last two and a half years making documentaries from my experience about sexual assault and abuse directed at women and young people.
‘To be honest now that I have social media profile out there are so many young people coming to me and saying ‘Zara, I have been raped, what do I do? I can’t tell my family, I can’t tell my friends’. They come because they see it as a safe space and know that I will listen. But there’s only so much I can do.
The Duchess of Cornwall donned a mask as she greeted London Mayor Sadiq Khan at Paddington Haven today
The Duchess of Cornwall shakes hands with members of staff as she visits the clinic Paddington Haven
Camilla spoke to a member of staff (pictured) and heard more about the work done at the sexual assault referral centre
Camilla spoke to members of staff at Paddington House, in London, this afternoon on a busy day of engagements
The Duchess of Cornwall unveils a plaque during her visit to Paddington Haven, a sexual assault referral centre
The Duchess of Cornwall unveils the plaque of the clinic Paddington Haven during today’s engagement
‘These SARCS are incredible because it shows people that there is a middle ground. You don’t have to sit and suffer in silence or go to the police and sometimes be dragged through a long process. That may not be right for you. These SARCS are amazing that they provide this support and are very victim-led. I can now direct anyone that comes to me to the right place and I am well-informed enough to share this experience today.
‘I would never have known we have somewhere to direct people to. The great thing is that this isn’t just a place for women, it’s a place for anyone who has been assaulted, whether you are LGBTQ , any kind of ethnicity or male. It’s amazing to be here and learn more about this facilities.’
‘Did you talk about it at the time, when it happened to you?,’ asked the duchess.
Miss McDermott said: ‘I was the victim of image-based abuse, revenge porn. I was 14 and 21. That was 10 years ago, and it wasn’t really ‘a thing’. I was also assaulted when I was 21 as well and did speak to the police about it at the time.
‘If I am really honest i felt like it was a normal thing to happen, I didn’t feel like a victim of anything. And now hindsight is a very powerful thing. You look back and think ‘that was wrong, that was so wrong’.’
Camilla’s engagements have gone ahead despite Charles, 73, testing positive for Covid-19 for a second time on Thursday morning because the Duchess is not required to self-isolate under current Covid rules because she is fully vaccinated. Last night the pair rubbed shoulders with VIPs including Priti Patel and Rishi Sunak (right) at a British Asian Trust reception
‘That’s what people have got to remember, how wrong it is,’ said the duchess. ‘Not something that should happen to anyone young. People have got to be educated that it is not right.
‘You’ve just got to get out there and talk about it. Can you get a lot of your contemporaries and friends to talk about it though your following?’
‘Yes I am going to do a big post and push today,’ Zara said. ‘Social media has been very pivotal in getting people able to talk more openly. It definitely has its drawbacks, but its campaigns are so powerful and they get received so well. ‘
Today’s visit falls during Sexual Abuse and Sexual Violence Awareness Week.
SARCs offer a range of services, including crisis care, medical examinations, emergency contraception and testing for sexually transmitted infections. They can also arrange access to an independent sexual violence advisor, as well as referrals to mental health support and voluntary sector sexual violence support services.
Laura Currer, 28, is the chair of the National Sexual Abuse and Assault Services Lived Experience Group and praised the help she received from her SARC centre as ‘crucial’.
Laura explained how important it was to ‘have someone show you a bit of human kindness and compassion and to feel that you are in control of your body’. ‘That is really pivotal,’ she said
Laura told the duchess that she had her drink spiked on a night out and was raped by two men she trusted.
‘I was fortunate that I had a really great support network around me. I was in such a state of trauma that I really struggled to articulate. I was saying something happened and it didn’t feel ok but that I didn’t know what to do. I am really aware that not everybody had that support network but there are options available to them and this campaign is vital because it arms people with the knowledge and information that they need,’ she said.
‘I had to Google ‘where do you go if you have been sexually assaulted. ‘ Nothing came up at the time, unfortunately. The next day I reported it too the police and was sent to a referral centre. They helped me all the way through. At the time I couldn’t even think straight but they gave me all the options, from the medical perspective, to the police and get me ongoing support. It’s really important that you get the right support and people know what you need and give you the right options, which helped you get a sense of control back. ‘
Camilla remarked: ‘So they know, unlike you, where to come to. It so important that people know they do have somebody to turn to who is going to give you kindness, apart from anything else, and care.
‘Yes that was really, needed,’ Laura said.
‘How long has it taken you to get over the initial trauma, although I am sure you never get over it completely?’ asked Camilla.
Laura replied: ‘It was about six and a half years ago and it took at least a year, 18 months, before I started feeling like myself again. After that I could start working on myself to help other survivors. I now work with a lot of women which is really personally healing.
‘There is so much shame and guilty and everything feels very hidden. It feels very important if you feel able to have conversations like we are today. ‘
‘I think it’s wonderful you have come back into the system to help other women. It very important to have women like you on board,’ the duchess said.
She also spoke to Nicola, 57, from Manchester, who is a survivor of historic sex abuse at the hands of her father’s best friend.
‘I didn’t tell my story until I was in my late 40s. I was 12 to 16 [when it happened]. When I came forward eventually i wanted to use my voice, i suddenly found this freedom,’ she said.
She explained how much the help she later received via a SARC had meant to her.
‘When I walked through the door they knew me better than I did. They were phenomenal. They were so instrumental in my healing. I am very thankful and very grateful,’ she said.
‘I had been leaving a double life. When it’s all over, and my case did go to trial, regardless if the result you get that is your blackest moment. Suddenly the phone stops ringing, people stop asking. It’s done. But for you it’s very much not done. And its a very dark time. And at SARCS they understand that. They are there for you. They reach out to you and help you through that.’
Camilla replied: ‘Did you feel guilty yourself and ashamed? Is that why you didn’t seek help?’
‘Yes, I felt very ashamed. He was my father’s closest friend, his wife was my mother’s closest friend. 1977 was very different to now. I was 12, I did what I was told, there was no answering back at home, Nicola said.
‘And probably some wouldn’t have believed you?’ Camilla interjected.
‘Correct,’ Nicola replied.
‘Also my coping mechanism was to put it aside, in one place. I just kept it completely separate..
‘I don’t live a double life any more, I can use my voice and use it well. It’s a job well done. Today we are helping thousands of people who unfortunately have come after us.
Campaigns like this are the difference between being lost and found, being isolated and having a support network.’
The duchess said: ‘Unfortunately there are so many people like you who don’t tell people for years. I’ve talked to so many women who have kept their silence for 30 or 40 years. But today there are people who are there for you. I have visited a lot of SARCsaround the country and .
‘Yes it’s important to know as someone who has been through this that you can go and speak to them and it is confidential as well. You don’t have to necessarily go to the police, you don’t have to take it future. But there is someone who is listening. There is no judgement,’ Nicola added.
Camilla said: ‘I think you are incredibly brave women, even braver to come out and talk about it so publicly. But you are so needed. Other have to be encouraged to do the same. They can feel that they are not the only one.
‘It was always a taboo subject, never talked about, swept under the carpet, very hush hush. But now people are understanding it so much more. We have all between us got to get out there and keep going.’
The duchess also met with staff working at the centre and viewed a forensic room – like many of the room in the centre it has scenes of sky and nature on the ceiling to help victims going through forensic and medical examinations.
She also saw an example to the wash bags she devised several years who to be given free to women who are going through traumatic examinations containing toiletries and make-up.
‘I am so glad they help. It is just something to try and alleviate the horrors they are going though,’ she said,
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