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The Duchess of Cornwall makes important plea: 'Let us not be bystanders to injustice or prejudice'

Camilla delivered a speech at a reception for the Anne Frank Trust UK

duchess of cornwall anne frank trust speech
Danielle Stacey
Danielle StaceyOnline Royal CorrespondentLondon
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The Duchess of Cornwall urged the public "let us not be bystanders to injustice or prejudice," as she marked Holocaust Memorial Day and the 75th anniversary of the publication of Anne Frank's diary.

Camilla, 74, delivered a speech as she attended a reception for the Anne Frank Trust UK in London on Thursday, saying that each new generation must be prepared to "tackle hatred in any of its terrible forms".

As the Duchess made her first public appearance of the year, she was introduced to Eva Schloss MBE, step-sister of Anne Frank and Honorary President of the Anne Frank Trust UK, as well as other Holocaust survivors and guest speaker, Dame Joanna Lumley.

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The event was attended by schoolchildren who have been trained by the Anne Frank Trust UK as anti-prejudice ambassadors, as well as people affected by more recent examples of hate crimes including the daughter of murdered MP Sir David Amess, a survivor of the "Incel" shootings in Plymouth in summer 2021, and the cricketer Azeem Rafiq, who spoke about racism in Yorkshire Cricket as well as apologising for his own antisemitic remarks.

"Like so many others, I first read Anne's diary at about the same age as she was when she started her harrowing memoir," Camilla said. "Anne had an exceptional gift with words. She had seen their power to promote great evil, but also recognised their ability to offer comfort, meaning and hope. And, as a writer, she, posthumously, achieved everything she aspired to.

"On 5th April 1944, she wrote, 'I want to go on living even after my death! And that's why I'm so grateful to God for having given me this gift, which I can use to develop myself and to express all that’s inside me!'. 

"Her life, and her death, continue to inspire a worldwide movement of anti-prejudice education, including the Anne Frank Trust here in the UK."

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duchess of cornwall lights candle© Photo: Getty Images

The Duchess of Cornwall lit a candle to mark Holocaust Memorial Day

During the reception, the Duchess joined guests to take part in a candle-lighting ceremony in memory of victims of the Holocaust.

Camilla recalled her visit to Auschwitz on the 75th anniversary of its liberation in January 2020, saying she will "never forget" the speech from a survivor of the camp, Marian Turski.

duchess of cornwall anne frank trust© Photo: Getty Images

The Duchess with Eva Schloss MBE and Dame Joanna Lumley

She added: "Ladies and gentlemen, let us not be bystanders to injustice or prejudice. After all, surely our personal values are measured by the things we are prepared to ignore. 

"Let us therefore learn from those who bore witness to the horrors of the Holocaust, and all subsequent genocides, and commit ourselves to keeping their stories alive, so that each generation will be ready to tackle hatred in any of its terrible forms.  

"And let us carry with us the words and wisdom Anne Frank (a child of only 14 years old) wrote on 7th May 1944: 'What is done cannot be undone, but at least one can prevent it from happening again'." 

The Anne Frank Trust UK is an education charity that empowers young people aged 10 to 15 to challenge all forms of prejudice, inspired by the life and work of Anne Frank.  

Holocaust Memorial Day officially takes place on Thursday 27 January. 

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