The Duchess of Cornwall joined over 400 women as she attended the Women of the Year Lunch in London today.
The annual meal, held at the InterContinental Hotel on Park Lane, celebrates women from all walks of life who have made a positive impact on British society. Attendees included Christine Lampard, Prue Leith, Baroness Brady, Natalie Dormer, Louise Minchin, Julie Etchingham and Sandi Toksvig.
The Woman of the Year awards were established in 1955 by Antonia Lothian, who was inspired by how her husband bonded with other men at private clubs, and events, wanting the same opportunities for women. Despite being told that she would never be able to find hundreds of famous women, Lothian proved the critics wrong.
Awards are decided by chairman Jane Luca, and president and Great British Bake Off and QI presenter, Sandi Toksvig.
Upon her arrival, Camilla, 70 was greeted by host of the event, Loubie Vaughan, and delivered the opening address. In her remarks, the Duchess praised the women’s achievements. She said: “You all represent, not only yourselves and your own achievements, but also the millions of remarkable women who make a difference every day.
“I salute you all – for your courage, selflessness and dedication.”
Camilla also urged women to unite “in these turbulent times in which we live.”
— Women of the Year (@womenofyear) October 16, 2017
At the event, Camilla met with Strictly Come Dancing’s new head judge, Shirley Ballas. Camilla is a self-confessed fan of the BBC show and was invited to watch a dress rehearsal in 2011. Strictly judge Craig Revel Horwood once suggested that the wife of the heir to the throne should join the judging panel. He said: “Actually my best friend Camilla would be great. She’s a fantastic dancer. She moves with such grace and authority.”
The Duchess presented inspiring women, including police officers, with well-deserved honours during the event, including emergency service personnel, and , who received the Barclays Women of the Year Award for their work following the Manchester terrorist attack.
A second engagement for the day saw The Duchess of Cornwall visited the Royal Academy of Arts at Burlington House. Camilla was invited to launch the RA250 Friends Membership scheme in her capacity as patron of the Friends of the Royal Academy.
The Royal Academy is a privately funded, independent institution led by artists and architects, founded by King George III in 1768. It aims to promote the creation and appreciation of the arts through debate, exhibitions, and education.
The ‘Friends’ membership scheme provides members with free entry to exhibitions, previews to new exhibitions before they officially open to the public, priority booking and seats, and a subscription to the Royal Academy’s magazine and newsletter. Encouraging more young people to engage with art and architecture is its primary aim, and was set up to celebrate 250 years of the Royal Academy, which anniversary is due in 2018.