A version of this story appeared in the October 29 edition of CNN’s Royal News, a weekly dispatch bringing you the inside track on the royal family, what they are up to in public and what’s happening behind palace walls. Sign up here.
As the world’s longest-serving head-of-state, the Queen’s skill at wooing world leaders is masterful. Adept in the art of soft diplomacy, she’s revered by the other heads-of-state for her hosting skills and ability to avoid offending her guests.
As such, she will be missed by the VIPs gathering in Glasgow for the crucial COP26 climate talks. They surely would have been looking forward to their moment with the ageing monarch, and perhaps a treasured photo. Now that she’s canceled her visit on medical advice, her ministers have lost their most valuable diplomat too.
For those still worried about the 95-year-old, the palace has continued to say this week that she is in “good spirits,” with sources telling us she was undertaking “light duties” at Windsor. On Thursday, the palace released a snippet from a video call earlier in the day. In the clip, she joked with the 2020 winner of the Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry, David Constantine, who was presented with his medal at Buckingham Palace. “I don’t know what you do with it… You put it in a cupboard?” she quipped.
In the Queen’s absence, Princes Charles and William will take center stage in Scotland. They will be accompanied by the Duchesses of Cornwall and Cambridge, who have both taken on higher profile and more substantial roles in recent years.
Both Camilla and Kate did their first television news interviews with CNN. Camilla’s was on domestic violence in 2017 while Kate found some time to meet us during a royal tour of Pakistan two years later. Both were apprehensive but were determined to make it work.
A great example of how comfortable Camilla has become with her place in the Firm came this week with her biggest – and arguably most impressive – speech yet. The Duchess of Cornwall gave an impassioned address at a reception ahead of the Shameless! Festival in London next month, which plans to bring art and activism together to combat attitudes towards sexual violence.
“This country has been appalled and saddened by the loss of women to violence this year. On average, one woman is killed by a man every three days,” Camilla said. “Sarah Everard, Sabina Nessa, Wenjing Lin, Geetika Goyal and Bennylyn Burke are names which, with all the others, must never be forgotten.”
She continued: “We do not, in any way, hold all men responsible for sexual violence. But we do need them all aboard to tackle it. After all, rapists are not born, they are constructed. And it takes an entire community – male and female – to dismantle the lies, words and actions that foster a culture in which sexual assault is seen as normal, and in which it shames the victim.”
It was a speech that tapped into how many women in Britain are feeling amid a nationwide reckoning over an epidemic of violence against women and girls here.