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Camilla: Stories of domestic abuse from survivors still haunt me

The Queen Consort has spoken of her support for the work of domestic abuse charities (Kin Cheung/PA)
The Queen Consort has spoken of her support for the work of domestic abuse charities (Kin Cheung/PA)

The Queen Consort said the stories of domestic abuse survivors “still haunt” her as she highlighted the work of charities that offer support on this issue.

Camilla, who is a patron of SafeLives, was speaking about her support of the domestic abuse charity as she becomes the cover star for Good Housekeeping’s festive issue.

The 75-year-old said: “I have had the privilege of meeting so many women – and men – who live in an atmosphere of permanent fear. Their stories still haunt me.

“Over and over again, I have heard that what survivors want, above all, is for the wall of silence to be broken.”

Camilla added the best part of her work is being “under the radar” with survivors who have “escaped abuse and rebuild their lives”.

The Queen Consort is the cover star of the Christmas 2022 and New Year 2023 Good Housekeeping UK.
The Queen Consort is the cover star of the Christmas 2022 and New Year 2023 edition of Good Housekeeping (Good Housekeeping/Hugo Burnand/hugofoto.com/Telegraph Media Group Limited/PA)

SafeLives was founded by Baroness Diana Barran at her kitchen table in 2005 and it established the best friend rule – if your best friend was experiencing domestic abuse, what would you want for them?

The charity provides a range of services for those who have endured domestic abuse and works with other organisations with the ultimate aim of eradicating the issue.

Camilla added: “17 years on, the best friend rule still applies – and makes all the difference in the world to more than 75,000 adults and 95,000 children each year.

“I firmly believe that volunteers are the backbone of this country and, often unseen and unsung, truly hold our communities together.

“I would like to thank our country’s volunteers, from the bottom of my heart, for the hope they give to each one of us.”

Domestic abuse reception
The Duchess of Cornwall, left, speaking to Diana Parkes (Philip Toscano/PA)

She also said the story that has stayed with her is from Diana Parkes, the mother of Joanna Brown, who was brutally killed by her husband in 2010.

Camilla first met Ms Parkes in 2016 at the London office of SafeLives, when she first became interested in the issue of domestic abuse.

The Queen Consort said: “Diana (Parkes) had to identify her daughter’s body and saw, in horrifying detail, what Joanna’s husband had done to her.

“Diana’s story has always resonated very deeply with me, partly, I think, because she and I are the same generation and are both grandmothers.”

The Princess of Wales, the Princess Royal, the Countess of Wessex, Princess Alexandra and the Duchess of Gloucester are also interviewed in the latest issue of the magazine on their causes like dementia, carers, child safety and missing people.

Read more in the Christmas 2022 and New Year 2023 issue of Good Housekeeping, on sale on December 7 and also available online.