Yesterday, The Duchess of Cornwall attended the official launch of the newly-titled Royal Osteoporosis Society, formerly known as the National Osteoporosis Society. She paid an emotional tribute to her mother, who died as a result of the condition in 1994.
Camilla became involved with the organisation following the death of her mother, and has been their president since 2001 and supported the organisation for more than 20 years.
The Duchess’ visit started by viewing displays charting the history of the National Osteoporosis Society and meeting individuals who have been involved in its work.
Camilla also listened to a short speech from the society’s CEO, Claire Severgnini, encouraging people to pay attention to the signals sent by their body, saying: “The nation is simply shrinking, and it is no longer acceptable to think of it as just one of those things that happens as you get older.
“That’s why today we’ve announced we want to find a cure for osteoporosis and encourage everybody to start to look after their bones, no matter how old they are.”
Osteoporosis is a fragile bone disease that causes painful, debilitating and sometimes fatal fractures in a person’s bones, particularly of the wrist, hip and spine. Being a very common condition, osteoporosis affects 1 in 2 women and 1 in 5 men over the age of 50. The society is dedicated to improving the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of this fragile bone disease, offering free support and information to people affected by osteoporosis and associated broken bones, including a helpline that receives more than 13,000 enquiries a year.
As the president of the organisation, Camilla, 71, was given the honour of unveiling its new logo, saying afterwards: “It was 25 years ago that my mother died as a result of osteoporosis. In fact, she was exactly the same age as I am now. Then, it was never discussed, rarely diagnosed, and always attributed to old people.”
Talking about her late mother’s struggle with the condition, The Duchess of Cornwall revealed that her family and herself ‘were completely devastated, but also, we didn’t understand how somebody could be in so much pain, and we were unable, and the doctors seemed unable, to do anything about it.’
The future Queen Consort also revealed that she educates her children and grandchildren about the bone disease: “I also think it’s very important to tell my children and my grandchildren that this disease can be prevented. When you are young… you’re immortal. You don’t think about dying, getting old and breaking bones.
“But I think if we can just tell them how important it is to eat the right things, to take exercise, these will go a long way to keeping their bones healthy.”
Paying tribute to the Royal Osteoporosis Society medicines, helplines and researches, Camilla added, “It’s just incredible what’s happening and I just wish my mother was here today to see what could have been done.”