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Duchess Camilla meets woman suffering with life-changing condition that runs in the royal's family

The Duchess of Cornwall hosted an intimate event at her home with Prince Charles

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Bridie Wilkins
Senior Health & Fitness Writer
21 October 2021
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Duchess Camilla hosted an afternoon tea at her home with Prince Charles in London, Clarence House, to mark World Osteoporosis Day as ambassador of the Royal Osteoporosis Society on 20 October 2021. She met 25 volunteers and supporters to discuss the condition, which causes bones to lose strength and break more easily - sometimes from something as small as a cough or a hug, and she was particularly touched by one woman's experience.

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Valerie Farr was diagnosed with a rare type of osteoporosis, known as pregnancy associated osteoporosis after having her first child. She opened up about the time she spent with the Duchess of Cornwall.

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"It was fantastic to meet HRH The Duchess. She was really concerned to hear about the experience that I’d had getting diagnosed. We also talked about treatment and how we could make more people aware of the impact of osteoporosis.

"World Osteoporosis Day is an important opportunity to raise awareness of the condition and I’m so happy to be part of the effort to make this condition more visible."

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MORE: The Duchess of Cornwall reveals painful injury sustained during ballet lesson

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Duchess Camilla chatted with Valerie Farr, who was diagnosed with osteoporosis at 40

Valerie started to experience severe pain just six weeks after having her first child in 2016. She was unable to bend over the crib, or pick up her baby son, she couldn’t change him, and she couldn’t get her buggy in and out of her flat. After several tests and X-rays, Valerie was told that she had fractured two vertebrae and was diagnosed with osteoporosis at the age of 40.

"I felt let down that it had taken so long to get a diagnosis. I felt like there wasn’t enough information given to me and I had to look for it myself. Aside from the physical pain I’ve experienced, the impact on my mental health is also very real – there’s big things like feeling guilty about how it affects being a Mum, as well as small things like not wanting to leave my house in ice and snow. We need a greater understanding of osteoporosis and bone health to help prevent the debilitating impacts it can have on people’s lives."

camilla tea

Duchess Camilla hosted the afternoon tea at her home with Prince Charles

Duchess Camilla has been president of the Royal Osteoporosis Society (ROS) for 20 years, and has been a passionate supporter since both her late mother and grandmother battled with the condition.

The ROS have revealed new insight into what life is like for the 3.5million people still living with osteoporosis, including that 26 per cent of people are dealing with long-term pain, 71 per cent say they have trouble cooking and cleaning, and 17 per cent say their careers have been affected, and have either had to retire early, or reduce their hours.

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The Royal Osteoporosis Society's CEO Craig Jones met with Duchess Camilla

Craig Jones, CEO of the Royal Osteoporosis Society added: "Low awareness of osteoporosis, and bone health in general, is a major barrier to ageing well. We are tackling that with the support of our President, HRH The Duchess of Cornwall, who has seen first-hand the devastating impact of this disease.

"Everyone should be paying into their ‘bone bank’ through weight-bearing exercise, good calcium levels in their diet and sufficient vitamin D, to help prevent osteoporosis and protect their independence in later life."

Photos: Ian Jones

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