Queen Consort Camilla hosts Royal reception against gender-based violence

Britain's Sophie, the Countess of Wessex, Belgium's Queen Mathilde, Britain's Queen Camilla, Jordan's Queen Rania, Denmark's Crown Princess Mary, Sierra Leone's first lady Fatima Maada Bio, and Ukraine's first lady Olena Zelenska pose for a photograph, during a reception to raise awareness of violence against women and girls as part of the UN 16 days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence, at Buckingham Palace, in London, November 29, 2022. Kin Cheung/Pool via REUTERS
Britain's Sophie, the Countess of Wessex, Belgium's Queen Mathilde, Britain's Queen Camilla, Jordan's Queen Rania, Denmark's Crown Princess Mary, Sierra Leone's first lady Fatima Maada Bio, and Ukraine's first lady Olena Zelenska pose for a photograph, during a reception to raise awareness of violence against women and girls as part of the UN 16 days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence, at Buckingham Palace, in London, November 29, 2022. Kin Cheung/Pool via REUTERS
Queen Consort Camilla welcomed royal guests at Buckingham Palace on Tuesday for a reception to raise awareness of violence against women and girls.

The 300 guests included Britain’s Sophie, the Countess of Wessex, Belgium’s Queen Mathilde, Jordan’s Queen Rania, Denmark’s Crown Princess Mary and Sierra Leone’s first lady Fatima Maada Bio. As well as Ukraine’s first lady Olena Zelenska and Spice Girl, Mel B. 

Zelenska also addressed British lawmakers in parliament on Tuesday during her trip to the UK. She received a standing ovation as she entered a parliamentary committee room to deliver her speech.

The event was part of the U.N. 16 days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence.

Camilla said in her speech that ‘we are uniting today to confront, rightly, what has rightly been called a global pandemic of violence against women.’

She added: ‘Over the years, in my previous role, I had the privilege of meeting many survivors of rape and domestic abuse; and of sharing in the sorrow of people who had lost family members to violence. 

‘And again and again, I heard that two of the most powerful ways in which to help were to remember and to listen.’

The royal continued: ‘We remember those women who have lost their lives at the hands of a stranger, or of the person who should have loved them best. 

‘In so doing, we refuse to be desensitised by cold facts and figures and we resolve to keep the names and the memories of these women alive. 

Speaking through a translator, Ms Zelenska said it is important that the democratic world unites in the face of violence against women and girls. She said many rapes had been committed since the invasion of Ukraine.

‘It means a lot to be here,’ Ms Zelenska said. ‘We now face a huge amount of rapes of Ukrainian women and children by Russian soldiers. This afternoon I will have the honour to speak in front of the Parliament of the UK. The youngest victim of rape (in Ukraine) is four and eldest is 85. 

‘When the efforts of the democratic world unite to combat challenges like this, it always gives hope that we will win.’

 

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