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Duchess Camilla recalls traumatic memory from mother's battle with life-changing condition

The Duchess of Cornwall's mother suffered with osteoporosis

Duchess Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, has spoken out about her mother's battle with osteoporosis (a condition which causes bones to break and lose strength easily) several times, but in a new interview with Gloria Hunniford for the BBC to mark World Osteoporosis Day, she recalled the most poignant memory of her mother's battle.

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

"I remember when a friend of hers came in one day just to give her a hug, her rib broke," she explained. "It was as bad as that."

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Camilla went on to tell how her late mother Rosalind Shand's age was said to be to blame. "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," she said.

The condition also affected Camilla and the rest of her family. "It was terrible," she said. "Because we didn't know anything about it, so at some point we thought, 'Well, is she making a great fuss about all this?'"

Nonetheless, Camilla added that her mother's condition was so bad that "occasionally when she moved or you touched her she literally screamed".

SEE: Duchess Camilla's health secret is game-changing - see photo

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

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Duchess Camilla with her brother Mark, sister Annabel, and mother Rosalind Shand

The Duchess of Cornwall's mother sadly died from the condition in 1994 at the age of 72, while her grandmother also suffered with the disease, and passed away in 1986.

Camilla has since worked tirelessly to raise awareness about the condition, and is now ambassador of the Royal Osteoporosis Society.

She believes education is key. "I think we all think we're immortal, don’t we, when we're young," she said. "I think I'd like to see more young people being educated. I'd love to see more young people understand it, not just thinking, you know, 'poor old bats, we're going to get old and that's what's going to happen to us'. But actually understanding what actually happens and how they can prevent it."

Gloria went on to ask Camilla if she worries about the younger generation of her family. "I think my daughter's generation does listen," she explained. "It's just getting through to grandchildren. But, you know, they're starting to be teenagers. I would show them pictures of my mother, before and after she got osteoporosis. I would make them look at photographs and say, 'Look, if you don't take care, that's what will happen to you'."

You can find out more information about osteoporosis, including what it actually is, causes, symptoms and how to treat it, via the NHS or the Royal Osteoporosis Society.

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