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Watch Camilla Give a Touching Speech About the Potential of Women

The Duchess of Cornwall hosted a reception in her home in honor of the Women of the World (WOW) Festival.
IMAGE STUART C. WILSON/GETTY IMAGES
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The Duchess of Cornwall shared inspiration for female empowerment today as she hosted a reception to celebrate women and girls. Camilla was joined by around 100 guests at her London home of Clarence House in honor of the Women of the World (WOW) Festival, of which she is President.

At the event, on the eve of International Women’s Day, Camilla quoted her friend and WOW founder Jude Kelly, saying: "I will close with this, which I think speaks for us all. 'Women need to say, I’ve got one life, I’ve been given life, it has been breathed into me and here I am and I should use it for the best possible purpose—whatever each woman herself defines that to be.'"

The inspirational message was shared at the end of a four-minute speech about WOW and its efforts in helping women and girls achieve their potential.


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The Duchess has been president of the festival since 2015 but has been involved since it began in the U.K. in 2010. The festival has become known as a space for world-renowned artists and thinkers to convene to raise awareness of issues affecting gender equality. Speaking about its impact, she said, "I have heard stories from Women of the World—stories that sadden; stories that anger; and stories that encourage and inspire."

Also at the reception were prominent women including former Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard, anti-Brexit activist Gina Miller, and singer Charlotte Church. There were a handful of men including Edward Enninful, editor in chief of British Vogue, who described Camilla as "fashion icon."

"It’s such an honor to be a man to be invited to this," he told T&C, saying that "it’s so important" that Camilla champions these causes, adding: "The world listens when she speaks."

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He continued, "She’s a fashion icon. I love her style. It’s very consistent...Fashion is about being confident in what you wear."

During the event, the Duchess also chatted with anti-Brexit campaigner Gina Miller.

"The sad thing is I think now, more than ever, events like WOW and organizations like International Women's Day are more needed than ever," Miller told T&C." Around the world, there's a worrying shift away from equality and tolerance. So I think this year it's more important than ever."

[Camilla] is scrutinized more than her husband is; I am—all women who put their head above the parapet are. You actually do have to be pretty strong and know how to cope with it very early on.

Miller said she's spoken to the Duchess about the increased scrutiny women receive. "When you put your head above the parapet as a female you get a lot more abuse than you would as a man. There's a particular type of language... She is scrutinized more than her husband is; I am—all women who put their head above the parapet are. You actually do have to be pretty strong and know how to cope with it very early on."

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"Unfortunately—and this is what we were saying—is it's par for the course and we take it as being normal when we shouldn't."

She added about the reception, "Being able to bring the diversity of women who would normally not see themselves in a setting like this is actually very empowering in itself because it breaks down all sorts of barriers, and I think it's about breaking down barriers, and that's what she can do. I spoke to some of the young women here who said my mother can't believe... they want to know what the walls look like, the carpet. It is about breaking down barriers."


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Former Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard was also in attendance at Clarence House today. "It’s fantastic that the Duchess has lent her support with this reception," Gillard said. "We reminisced a little about their visit to Australia in 2012. I first met her in Canberra when she and Prince Charles visited and I met her again at CHOGM. She’s a very friendly, very down to earth person who knows how to get on with the job and get things done and I’m always very admiring of can-do attitudes."

At the close of the hour-long reception, Camilla smiled as WOW founder Jude Kelly told guests about changing attitudes.

"It’s probably inappropriate but I will take this risk. We did eventually suggest that the divine right of kings wasn’t something that was going to be useful any longer," she said.

“And also that feudalism was no longer appropriate. We can imagine a time when we will want to say that gender equality is the norm."

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*This story originally appeared on Townandcountrymag.com

*Minor edits have been made by the Townandcountry.ph editors

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