The Duchess of Cornwall has paid tribute to the dedication of pioneering equine welfare charity founder Dorothy Brooke.
Camilla is president of the Brooke, which helps improve the lives of donkeys, horses and mules around the world, and joined its staff and supporters at their annual Christmas carol service.
During the event attended by Brooke supporter and Olympic gold medal cyclist Victoria Pendleton, the duchess read from a new biography of Dorothy Brooke by Grant Hayter-Menzies.
She told the congregation the senior officer’s wife was moved by the plight of abandoned First World War horses she saw pulling cabs in Cairo in 1930.
Reading the extract the duchess added: “She would spend the next quarter-century of her life working to help ease the sufferings of these betrayed warriors.
“Once she had rescued all of the war horses that she could find, she turned to the sufferings of native horses, mules and donkeys.
“And she developed a philosophy for their human owners, caught in the same wheel of pain as their working animals. Blame poverty, Dorothy said, not the men degraded by it.”
Today Brooke operates in more than 10 countries across Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East, using a network of mobile teams and field clinics to improve the health and welfare of equine animals and educating owners and workers on how best to care for them.
The charity’s campaign Every Horse Remembered ended in November after 12 months raising awareness for the millions of horses, donkeys and mules from all forces who died during the First World War.
Before the carol service began at the Guards’ Chapel, Wellington Barracks in central London, Camilla met Ollie the donkey and Harry the mini Shetland pony outside.
And when the event was over she joined some of the guests in the nearby Guards Museum for a short reception.