Camilla Parker Bowles’ ‘guilt’ over friends who have suffered domestic abuse

The Duchess of Cornwall has spoken emotionally about the very personal effect domestic abuse has had on her, and said that we all know a victim of domestic abuse — whether we admit it or not.

Camilla, who is patron of the domestic violence charity SafeLives, said we “all know someone in an abusive relationship” during a speech at a women's refuge in Reading, Berkshire.

And the duchess now says that ignoring the warning signs can make you "feel guilty" if you haven't stepped in to help.

Referring to the impact of lockdown on domestic abuse, she wrote that almost as soon as the restrictions began “we saw both the best and the worst of human behaviour."

"For many," the Duchess wrote in an op-ed last year, "charity truly began at home, with family members caring for shielding relatives, and neighbours pulling together in new and different ways.

“But for some it was abuse, rather than charity, that began at home.”

The Duchess said that we have “no idea” what really goes on in most relationships, and that we all know someone who is trapped in an abusive relationship even if “sometimes we don't want to admit it”.

In an article for the Guardian, Camilla pointed to the “deeply troubling” statistics showing a sharp increase in domestic violence since last March, with recorded cases increasing by 20% worldwide.

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Over a third of specialist services in the UK have reported an increase in requests for support over the past year.

And in a new interview with The Telegraph, the Prince of Wales’s wife said: "I think if you've known somebody [in an abusive relationship] then it really does hit home.

“You feel ‘goodness, this is probably going on under my nose and I didn't know about it’.

“And that makes you feel guilty, in a way, that you weren't there to help at the time you were probably most needed.”

During the interview, Camilla also expressed her happiness at being able to hug her grandchildren again – following the recent birthdays of Princess Charlotte, 6, Prince Louis, 3, and little Archie, 2.

'It’s been so lovely just to be able to see them again and talk to them', she said.

She said that while it’s been good to keep in touch by phone and over Zoom, “nothing’s ever the same as being able to give somebody a good hug.”

If you have been affected by issues of domestic violence or coercive control you can call Refuge 's 24-Hour National Domestic Abuse Helpline for free. The number is 0808 2000 247.

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