Duchess of Cornwall reveals first-hand experience of having friends suffer domestic abuse

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  • Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, confessed domestic violence is happening far more often than we think during a telling visit to a women’s refuge in Berkshire.

    The Duchess of Cornwall engaged in a passionate and candid conversation about how domestic abuse cases have risen during lockdown whilst speaking to 18 female survivors on a royal engagement to a women’s refuge in Reading, Berkshire.

    Camilla, 73 – who is patron of charity, SafeLives, and has previously sent emotional words of support to abuse victims – confessed she’s had friends of her own that have been in abusive relationships, some of whom wouldn’t even recognise it as such.

    She told The Telegraph, “Well I think if you’ve known somebody then it really does hit home. You feel, ‘goodness, this is probably going on under my nose and I didn’t know about it’.”

    Camilla said it had a deeply personal effect on her, when friends have suffered at the hands of domestic abuse.

    “And that makes you feel guilty, in a way, that you weren’t there to help at the time you were probably most needed.”

    More than two million women report domestic abuse every year. And, according to Andrea West, CEO of Berkshire’s Women’s Aid, referrals more than tripled during covid-19 lockdown.

    In response to this, Boots and pharmacies across the UK have introduced a new codeword that offers a lifeline to domestic violence victims – a scheme Camilla fully supports.

    The Duchess hailed the ‘Ask for ANI’ domestic abuse codeword campaign as “pure brilliance because it’s so simple, yet it’s so effective”. She promised to do “anything to help”.

    During her most recent visit to the refuge, Camilla went on to say that nobody really knows what happens behind close doors of a relationship.

    “I’ve certainly known people who have suffered… suffered from it. You think, ‘oh well, domestic abuse means that somebody’s hit you occasionally when you’ve had a row or somebody’s gone too far,’ but you’ve got no idea what really goes on in most relationships.”

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