Duchess of Cornwall urges the public to reach out to isolated people over Christmas

The Duchess of Cornwall has written an exclusive piece for The Sunday Telegraph’s Stella Magazine – as part of a special edition dedicated to all those who are isolated from their families over the festive period. Camilla writes about the importance of supporting the older generation and discusses some of her patronages.

The Duchess of Cornwall was photographed for the cover of the magazine by Hugo Burnand at Clarence House in early December. (@ClarenceHouse)

Writing in Stella Magazine, Camilla told readers how she received a letter from Marlene, who wrote to the Duchess in the first UK lockdown. Marlene explained how lonely she was feeling during a challenging year after suffering from a twisted ankle, which meant she was unable to leave the house. Camilla put Marlene in touch with The Silver Line, of which the Duchess has been Patron since 2017, when she marked her 70th birthday.

The Duchess of Cornwall explained the charity is a free confidential telephone helpline, which operates 24/7 and was set up by Dame Ester Rantzen. The purpose of the helpline is to offer support and reassurance to older people in the United Kingdom.


“During this hugely challenging year, The Silver Line has been needed more than ever. Demand for its helpline increased by around 31% when the pandemic began, and remains high.”

“Age UK research shows that, in this country, just under a quarter of a million older people go for a whole week without talking to anyone – unimaginable to those of us who have family and friends at the end of a line.”

Marlene got back in touch with HRH to share of her uplifting conversation with a young volunteer. The charity left Marlene feeling happier and more positive.

The Duchess of Cornwall wears a a red wool coatdress by Fiona Clare in the new photos for the Telegraph article (The Telegraph)

The Duchess highlighted that readers of The Sunday Telegraph’s Stella Magazine are already familiar with The Silver Line, after raising almost £600,000 for three charities last Christmas including The Silver Line.

The Duchess of Cornwall, who has been an advocate for supporting the older generation, explains the importance of dealing with loneliness. She highlights how isolation can be hard, especially during this year where many elderly individuals have been separated from their families. It was estimated that 850,000 older people would be spending Christmas on their own.

The Duchess of Cornwall is patron of The Silver Line, a charity helpline for older people. (Hugo Burnand/The Telegraph)

“If you are a reader who would like to support others, please do consider getting in touch with someone who could be lonely this Christmas. If you would like to do this with a card or a letter, you might be interested to read about the My Dear New Friend initiative, which is supported by the National Literacy Trust (another charity of which I am the proud patron).”

“Or you might be inspired by The Silver Line and feel able just to pick up the telephone and brighten someone’s day.”

The Duchess encouraged readers who may know an older person to reach out as it could make a huge difference.

The Duchess of Cornwall concluded her exclusive piece by wishing all Stella’s readers a very Merry Christmas and encouraged those who are spending Christmas on their own to reach out to charities like The Silver Line.

Embed from Getty Images
The Duchess of Cornwall speaking to Dame Esther Rantzen during her visit to The Silver Line in 2017

Back in April, The Duchess of Cornwall spoke to Silver Line user Betty from Hampshire and revealed she missed not being able to see her grandchildren. The Duchess spoke to the 90-year old about many topics including wartime memories. The Duchess first spoke to Betty when she visited the helpline in 2017.

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