Queen Camilla in Wiltshire: supporting local business and osteoporosis survey update

HM was near her country home of Ray Mill performing engagements

On Wednesday, The Queen carried out engagements in Bath and Lacock, near her country home of Ray Mill.

Her Majesty first visited Royal Osteoporosis Society‘s new offices in Bath, an organisation she has supported since 1994 – predating her royal work – as her mother and grandmother suffered with osteoporosis.

The Queen Consort visited the charity’s new offices. (Royal Family)

In October 2022, Royal Osteoporosis Society launched the UK’s first Osteoporosis Risk Checker, with the help of The Queen Consort. The initiative consisted of an online questionnaire to show participants how likely they are to develop the condition.

During the visit, Her Majesty heard about the early results from the checker, in which she was told how over 50,000 people have used the online tool. Over 12,000 people (24%) have learnt they had a sufficient number of key risk factors to warrant an urgent trip to see their doctor.

Camilla spoke to staff within the charity. (Royal Family)

Camilla met with staff, volunteers and and the helpline team, when she attended an event at the Guildhall to celebrate the charity’s work and impact.

Around 3.5 million people in the UK are thought to have osteoporosis.

The Queen met with other supporters of the charity, including Annette Browne, 64, who suffered four painful spinal fractures due to osteoporosis.

Speaking about the royal visit, Annette said: ‘It was such a pleasure to meet Her Majesty today and I hope her involvement helps more people to understand osteoporosis and take simple steps to strengthen their bones earlier in life. This can make such a difference to people’s quality of life later on.’

Her Majesty spoke to those who had lived with osteoporosis. (Royal Family)

The Queen Consort was President of the Royal Osteoporosis Society up until the accession of His Majesty The King. She became Paton of the charity in 1997 and then President in 2021. The ROS are awaiting further news from the Royal Household regarding Her Majesty’s position as President.

In 2021, the Duchess of Cornwall, as Camilla was at the time, opened up about her mother’s battle with osteoporosis in an interview with BBC’s Morning Live. ‘My mother, I think, went to see everybody you could possibly think of and they all said the same thing – “Sorry, you’re old”. We just watched her shrinking before our eyes’.

Camilla discussed the pain that caused her family, citing it was ‘terrible, because we didn’t know anything about it’. 

She added: ‘So at some point we thought “well, is she making a great fuss about all this?”. When she moved or you touched her she literally screamed.’

A cake was cut to mark the opening.

Her Majesty then visited Lacock, a village in Wiltshire, close to her home – Ray Mill. 

She first visited the St. Cyriac’s Church, which was were her daughter, Laura, had her wedding in May 2006. Upon entering the church, Camilla said: ‘It is such a lovely place to be, really lovely’.

She viewed a photograph of herself and her husband, The King, at her daughter’s wedding.

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On the visit, Her Majesty was joined by her dogs, Beth and Bluebell. Royal watchers have seen her dogs during engagements over the last few years, including at Battersea in 2020 when Beth helped the then-Duchess of Cornwall to open new kennels.

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Both dogs have also featured in a portrait of the then-Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall to mark their 15th wedding anniversary and more recently in Camilla’s edition of Country Life. 

Part of the visit saw the Royal plant a tree in the church grounds as part of the Queen’s Green Canopy initiative, marking the late Queen’s Platinum Jubilee; the scheme comes to a close in the Spring, when the British tree-planting season ends.

Camilla then headed into the village where she popped in the local shops. She visited Oliv, a shop founded during lockdown in 2020 by local residents Oliver Thomas and Olivia Spickernel. Her Majesty admired the homemade soy wax candles, melts and reed diffusers and commented that she ‘shall be back again’ to ‘do a bit of shopping’.

Ray Mill is Her Majesty’s country home, around 30 minutes’ drive to Highgrove, her husband’s Gloucestershire home. Camilla has owned the property since she divorced her first husband, Andrew Parker Bowles, in 1995.

She also visited the National Trust shop, and spoke to local residents along the way. Children from Lacock Primary School and Wise Owls Pre-School, with some even wearing crowns they had decorated, gathered to get a glimpse of The Queen. 

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Her Majesty’s final stop was the village shop and deli. She told the owners that her protection officers are frequent visitors to the shop at lunchtime. ‘They absolutely love the quiches,’ she said, and even urged her equerry to get some snacks for his journey back to London.

For the visit to the village, The Queen was accompanied on the visit by two old friends, Sarah Troughton, Lord-Lieutenant of Wiltshire, and Lady Landsdowne, Wiltshire’s new High Sheriff, both of whom are now Queen’s Companions, the modern-day equivalent of a lady in waiting.

These Companions will be seen at various points across the year, but less frequently than Ladies-in-Waiting were for the late Queen Elizabeth II.

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