Camilla urges women to use life ‘for best possible purpose’


The Duchess of Cornwall urged women around the world to use their life “for the best possible purpose” as she hosted a reception to champion gender equality.

Journalists Jon Snow and Emily Maitlis, Cherie Blair, the wife of former prime minister Tony Blair, and Rizzle Kicks member Jordan Stephens were among those who joined Camilla at Thursday’s Clarence House reception to mark the beginning of the annual Women of the World (WOW) festival.

Other guests included Welsh singer songwriter Charlotte Church, retailer Mary Portas, international journalists Christiane Amanpour and Lyse Doucet, campaigner Gina Miller and Channel 4 presenter Cathy Newman.

Duchess of Cornwall and Emily Maitlis
Duchess of Cornwall and Emily Maitlis

Quoting theatre director and founder of the festival Jude Kelly, the Duchess told her guests: “Women need to say, I’ve got one life, I’ve been given life, it’s been breathed into me and here I am.

“I should use it for the best possible purpose, whatever each woman herself defines that to be.”

Addressing the event at the end, the duchess said: “I must if I may just take a moment to salute the brave gentlemen here amongst this immense regiment of women.”

Duchess of Cornwall
Duchess of Cornwall

Camilla became president of WOW in 2015, having been involved with the organisation since 2010, launching the Sydney festival in 2012 and WOW Washington in 2015.

Speaking about the duchess, Ms Miller said: “We were talking about humour actually, when the world is very worried about everything we forget to be human.

“She has got a naughty side to her which is very endearing. She brings an accessibility about people thinking that anything is possible and you can do it with humility and grace.

Duchess of Cornwall and Charlotte Church
Duchess of Cornwall and Charlotte Church

“We’re breaking down barriers, and realising we are all the same, we’re all women fighting.”

Stephens, who talked to Camilla about the importance of men in the movement, said: “She was very happy with my allegiance to the foundation as it’s nice to have male support.

“The monarchy has incredible reach globally and is incredibly influential, you can’t ask for any more of a backing.”

– Women of the World London 2019 runs on Friday and Saturday at London’s Southbank Centre, featuring a range of speakers including Angela Davies, Naomi Klein, Annie Lennox, Julia Gillard, Gina Miller, Jordan Stephens, Catherine Mayer, Sandi Toksvig, Margaret Busby and Scarlett Curtis.