Camilla meets school therapy dog and heads to oasis retreat in east London

Today The Duchess of Cornwall was out and about in London, in spite of a bug. She visited Mulberry School for Girls, The Royal Foundation of St Katharine and the Yurt Cafe.

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Camilla’s first appointment of the day was to the inspirational Mulberry School for Girls, East London. In 2006, Mulberry School was designated a specialist school for the Arts, in English; Media and the Expressive Arts. It is home to 1,400 students. Her Royal Highness received a wonderfully warm welcome from the girls as she arrived.

The Duchess of Cornwall received a wonderful welcome from the students of the Mulberry School For Girls (CLARENCE HOUSE)

The Duchess was in Whitechapel in her role as President of the Women of the World Festival. This is a global movement of festivals celebrating women and girls and looks at the obstacles that prevent them from achieving their potential and raise awareness globally of these issues and how to prevent them. Camilla has attended many Women of the World Festivals across the globe, and is due to take part in an event in New Zealand next month on a visit with Prince Charles. The school is closely involved with the global WOW Festival.

Camilla’s visit to the school coincided with the school’s Charity Week. This year the school is raising awareness that period poverty acts as a barrier for millions worldwide, stopping many girls from going to school, and women from going to work.

The first activity of the day at Mulberry School saw the Duchess visit the WOW marketplace in the school’s library which highlighted the topic of gender equality.

The Duchess of Cornwall was invited to take a turn on the Feminist Coconut Shy (CLARENCE HOUSE)

The Royal was invited to take her part ‘smashing the patriarchy’ in a Feminist Coconut Shy run by the school’s Feminist Society. This unique feminist version of the fairground game uses stereotypes and problems faced by women around the world as targets, instead of coconuts. Statements included Exploitation, Stereotyping and Inequality. Camilla, 72, knocked down ‘Objectification’. Her Royal Highness has been a champion of women’s rights and female empowerment for some time.

The Duchess of Cornwall also enjoyed a welcome tea, including cakes made by catering students, before embarking on a tour of the school.

Camilla spent time in the Art Department, where she admired the remarkable pieces of art, created around the theme of female empowerment; she also took time to talk to students about their work.

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A Shakespearean-inspired performance was given the Mulberry Theatre Company for the visit, where the gender roles were reversed. This was performed at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival earlier in the year.

Camilla then participated in a round-table discussion on the issues raised in the performance, and before leaving, the Duchess was presented with an autumnal bouquet and met the school’s therapy dog, Winnie, a black Scott’s Terrier. Winnie was wearing her own specially-made school uniform in honour of the royal visitor. Camilla was treated to students singing a Scottish folk song – Wild Mountain Thyme.

Mulberry School pioneers high quality education for girls. The cornerstone of their work is to develop confidence, creativity, leadership and a love of learning to break cycles of poverty and unemployment through education opportunities. Michelle Obama, visited Mulberry School in 2015, where she launched her ‘Let Girls Learn’ campaign to the girls at the school.

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Camilla’s next stop was The Royal Foundation of St Katharine in Limehouse, London. It was founded by Queen Matilda in 1147 and is still a Royal Peculiar – a religious institution under direct rule by the Monarch. Westminster Abbey is also a Royal Peculiar.

Before it became a foundation, the peculiar was simply St Katharine’s By The Tower, serving the community as a medieval church and hospital. In 1825, the area was demolished flooded to form St Katharine’s Docks, and the organisation moved to Regent’s Park.

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The complex of St Katharine’s moved back to the East End in 1948, and has been carefully built to preserve an oasis in central London. It is a place to take time out from daily life for reflection and contemplation, home to peaceful gardens and a chapel.

It offers both day and residential retreats, and also acts as a conference venue for charities and NGO’s. The Foundation also provides a meeting space for women’s groups, artists and community organisations. Last year The Foundation hosted more than 750 meetings and conferences and welcome more than 16,000 guests for overnight stays.

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The Foundation is now entering a new phase as it renews its commitment to Worship, Hospitality and Service. In October 2015, The Foundation opened St. Katharine’s Precinct, a community project made entirely from shipping containers and yurts. The project includes new facilities including a Well-being Hub, London’s first Yurt Cafe, Reflective Space and Artist Studios. Her Royal Highness was greeted and shown around the centre by the Venerable Roger Preece.

Camilla enjoyed a stop at the Yurt Cafe, a social enterprise, which has price-protected items to ensure the cafe menu is accessible to everyone.

The Duchess of Cornwall enjoyed meeting staff at The Yurt Cafe, a community project based at The Royal Foundation of St Katharine (CLARENCE HOUSE)

With time for a cup of tea and a chat with locals, including Marie Lin Takacs, who was visiting the cafe with her 12 week old, Clau-Jean Lin, Camilla also met interns, members of the community garden group and people who use the facilities offered by The Foundation.

Camilla enjoyed a cup of tea and a chat with the patrons of The Yurt Cafe (CLARENCE HOUSE)

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1 comment

Yumiko Kokuryu Wed 30 October, 2019 - 10:21 pm

I am very glad to see Camilla being engaged in her public service with a beautiful smile.


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