The Duchess of Cornwall supports over 90 charities as Patron or President.
Her Royal Highness’s charity work is varied but several themes prevail: health, literacy, supporting those in need; the elderly, victims of rape and sexual abuse and domestic violence, empowering women; food; animals, dance and heritage and the arts.
In 2016, Her Majesty The Queen passed on a number of Patronages to other members of The Royal Family. As part of this, The Duchess of Cornwall assumed new patronages at charities Barnardo's, Battersea Dogs & Cats Home and The Royal School of Needlework. In June 2018, The Duchess took on The Royal Society of Literature.
Her Royal Highness's first Patronage was the Royal Osteoporosis Society (ROS). Her Royal Highness's involvement in this charity began in 1994 after seeing her own mother suffering with this disease, resulting in her early death at the age of 72. This led Her Royal Highness to The ROS, and she has remained heavily involved in supporting the charity, firstly as its Patron and then as its President, as huge strides have been made in the diagnosis, treatment and research of osteoporosis.
In February 2019, The Duchess attended a reception to mark the launch of the Royal Osteoporosis Society, formerly the National Osteoporosis Society. Her Royal Highness discussed why she became involved in the charity and its importance to her.
Over the years Her Royal Highness has held receptions, attended events, and made many impassioned speeches, always taking an active and very personal interest in raising awareness of their work. In 2007, Her Royal Highness received the Kohn Foundation Award from Dr Ralph Kohn in recognition of her contribution to raising awareness of osteoporosis, and Her Royal Highness now presents her own award – the Duchess of Cornwall Award; which recognises an outstanding contribution to the field of osteoporosis.
The Duchess is also President of Maggie’s, an innovative charity which has built a number of centres in the UK and abroad to provide a supportive and caring environment for people with cancer.
In June 2012, The Duchess became President of JDRF, the type 1 diabetes charity. The Duchess visited a clinical research facility in Cambridge to learn about JDRF funded research to find the cure for type 1 diabetes. Her Royal Highness spent time with young people who have type 1 diabetes and talk to them about how they live with the condition. In support of the charity and World Diabetes Day in November 2012, Clarence House was turned blue at night to raise awareness of the disease.
The Duchess is a passionate promoter of Literacy in the UK and internationally, with particular focus on encouraging a love of reading and writing from an early age.
The Duchess is Patron of several organisations which promote and support literacy, including the National Literacy Trust, Book Trust, First Story, the Wicked Young Writer Awards and Beanstalk, and has attended Literary engagements such as the Man Booker Prize for Fiction, and BBC Radio 2's 500 Words Competition – an initiative which encourages children around the country to get creative and send in their stories of no more than 500 words. The Duchess first attended the final of the competition in 2015, has been an honorary judge since 2016 and has also been cast as the 500 Words 'Fairy Godmother', appearing in animated form in the video launching the competition.
On World Book Day 2020 The Duchess stressed the importance of reading to children at a
London school. Her Royal Highness said:
If can give you one piece of advice, it is to put down your phones and pick up a book, especially before you go to bed. Books never lose their signal or run out of battery and they will always take you to a thousand different worlds with every turn of a page.
2016 marked 100 years since the birth of Roald Dahl, and The Duchess was announced as the Patron of Roald Dahl 100 for the centenary year during a visit to the Southbank Centre's interactive experience, The Wondercrump World of Roald Dahl. Her Royal Highness continued this support throughout the year – attending a creative-writing workshop organised by Literature Wales during Wales Week, and taking part in the Big Friendly Giant Dream Jar Trail – a unique installation that took place across London in the summer of 2016 to raise money for Children's Charities.
The childhood dreams and aspirations of 50 celebrated famous people were transformed into sculptures up to six feet tall by talented artists. Alongside Steven Spielberg, Mark Rylance, Professor Stephen Hawking and many others, Her Royal Highness contributed her own dream jar which was then auctioned off to raise funds for the Roald Dahl's Marvellous Children's Charity.
Her Royal Highness concluded 2016 as Patron of Roald Dahl 100 by inviting children and young people from the Roald Dahl's Marvellous Children's Charity to join her at Clarence House to decorate the Christmas Tree. The Duchess has been inviting children with life-limiting illnesses to decorate the Christmas tree in the Library at Clarence House since 2006.
In 2013 The Duchess began a Wash Bag initiative, providing Sexual Assault Referral Centres (or SARCs) with wash bags, which are given to those referred to the centres. Following a successful pilot of the project at the three London SARCs, known as The Havens, the scheme has since grown from a London based pilot of 750 bags to a national distribution partnership with Boots of over 10,000 wash bags. The Duchess attended its national launch in Nottingham in March 2017. The national roll out of the project began delivering wash bags, provided by Boots, twice yearly to the 49 SARCs around the UK.
Her Royal Highness has visited projects run by Barnardo's, of which she took on Patronage from HM The Queen in 2017, focusing on Child Sexual Exploitation, and has visited centres in many countries, including the USA and the Balkans.
In 2013, The Duchess held a Reception at Clarence House bringing together an important group of national stakeholders and key decision-makers. This was the first time in the UK that such a wide range of organisations had been drawn together specifically to discuss rape and sexual abuse. In 2014, The Duchess met actress and campaigner Angelina Jolie and the then UK Foreign Secretary, William Hague, to discuss their work on ending sexual violence in areas of conflict.
The Duchess has also highlighted the work of domestic abuse charities and the work they do to support victims and survivors. In November 2016, HRH visited the Dubai Foundation for Women and Children, which is a shelter for victims of domestic violence, child abuse and human trafficking, and attended a round table meeting on the subject in Adelaide, Australia in 2015.
Her Royal Highness has visited the domestic violence charities SafeLives, Refuge and Women's Aid in the UK, and in July 2016 hosted a reception at Clarence House on this subject. The Reception provided an opportunity for guests to share and generate new ideas, encourage closer collaboration, and ultimately to benefit victims of domestic abuse. It also acknowledged the work of staff and volunteers across the various sectors – as well as the bravery of victims in coming forward to share their experiences.
Her Royal Highness became President of Southbank Centre's Women of the World Festival since 2015, and has been involved in the initiative since its conception. The WOW Festival is a global festival movement launched by Jude Kelly in London in 2010 that celebrates women and girls. To date, WOW has reached over one million people worldwide and this number is growing year on year with WOW festivals in 17 cities across 5 continents.
Her Royal Highness attended a Reception to mark the launch of WOW Festival in February 2015 at the Royal Festival Hall and has hosted several events, including a lunch time Reception at Buckingham Palace on International Women’s Day to celebrate WOW 2017.
Her Royal Highness has been Patron of The Big Lunch since 2013. In 2017, The Big Lunch partnered with the Jo Cox Foundation and aligned the date of The Big Lunch to the weekend of 17 and 18 June, marking the anniversary of the death of Jo Cox.
In partnership with Brendan Cox, the husband of Jo Cox, they co-created a new event called The Great Get-Together – a shared weekend of community mindedness activities taking place this weekend based around the Big Lunch. The celebrations were based around communities and neighbours coming together to share a meal over the course of the weekend.
As Patron, The Duchess invited those involved with The Big Lunch and The Jo Cox Foundation to join her at Clarence House in February 2017 for a Reception to launch "The Great Get Together" campaign. The Launch gave communities, companies, and likeminded institutions the opportunity to get together to celebrate, plan and look ahead to the weekend in June.
The Duchess’s personal interest in animals and their welfare is reflected in her patronages. During Their Royal Highnesses' tours of Egypt and Pakistan in 2006, Her Royal Highness visited the Brooke Hospital for Animals. Later that year, The Duchess became President of the Brooke, a charity which operates worldwide providing free veterinary treatment for horses and donkeys, and advice for their owners on how to care for them.
Her Royal Highness is also Patron of The British Equestrian Foundation, the Kennel Club Charitable Trust (the charitable arm of the Kennel) and in November 2006, The Duchess became Patron of the Langford Trust for Animal Health and Welfare which is a charity that supports the University of Bristol Veterinary School to promote the practice, advancement and teaching of veterinary science.
The Duchess is also Patron of the Animal Care Trust (under the umbrella of The Royal Veterinary College) and the Langford Trust for Animal Health and Welfare, which is a charity that supports the University of Bristol Veterinary School to promote the practice, advancement and teaching of veterinary science.
In September 2014, The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall became Joint Presidents of Elephant Family. The charity was founded in 2002 by The Duchess of Cornwall's late brother, Mark Shand, who dedicated his life to saving the Asian Elephants.
The Duchess became Patron of Battersea Dogs and Cats Home in 2016, in succession to HM The Queen, and in fact has two of her own rescued dogs from Battersea, Beth and Bluebell.
Like The Prince of Wales, The Duchess takes a keen interest in heritage and is Patron of the Wilts and Berks Canal Trust, Scotland’s Gardens Scheme, Ditchling Museum, the Fan Museum and Friends of Westonbirt Arboretum. The Duchess is a great supporter of the arts and regularly attends concerts and the theatre with The Prince of Wales. These are often fundraising events for charities with which Their Royal Highnesses are affiliated.
The Duchess is Patron of the London Chamber Orchestra, St Johns, Smith Square, the New Queen’s Hall Orchestra, the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain and the Theatre Royal Bath.
Another of Her Royal Highness's key focuses is Active Older Age – encouraging and inspiring an older generation to keep fit, active and engaged, tackling the isolation and seclusion that many older people face. Her Royal Highness enjoys walking her dogs, hiking and swimming.
The Duchess has also been taking an active interest in organisations focused on supporting an older generation such as The Royal Voluntary Service – an organisation dedicated to helping older people stay active, and to feel valued and independent.
Another of Her Royal Highness's most recent Patronages is The Silver Line – the only confidential, free helpline for older people across the UK that’s open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, that offers information, friendship and advice.