The Queen’s has supported the Royal Osteoporosis Society since 1994, after seeing her own mother suffering with this disease, resulting in her early death at the age of 72. This led The Queen (as The Duchess of Cornwall) to become Patron of the ROS, and then its President, as huge strides have been made in the diagnosis, treatment and research of osteoporosis.
In February 2019, The Queen attended a reception to mark the launch of the Royal Osteoporosis Society, formerly the National Osteoporosis Society. Her Royal Highness discussed why she became involved in the charity and its importance to her.
In 2020, during the national lockdown, The Queen issued a video message on World Osteoporosis Day. Her Majesty said:
"I became involved with osteoporosis 26 years ago after my mother died as a result of this devastating disease. In those dark old days it was seldom discussed, rarely diagnosed and usually attributed to old women with so-called ‘dowager’s humps’. My family and I knew nothing about it and were at a loss to know how we could help alleviate the terrible pain she suffered."
But how times have changed – today huge strides have been made in the treatment and research into osteoporosis, and we now know how it can be prevented and how we can support those who are living with it.
In 2023, The Queen opened the Royal Osteoporosis Society's new offices in Bath and met staff and supporters at a reception.
Over the years, as The Duchess of Cornwall, Her Majesty has held receptions, attended events, and made many impassioned speeches, always taking an active and very personal interest in raising awareness of their work.
When she was The Duchess of Cornwall, The Queen also became President of Maggie’s, an innovative charity which has built a number of centres in the UK and abroad to provide a supportive and caring environment for people with cancer.
In 2021, Her Majesty hosted a celebration at Clarence House to mark 25 years of the charity. She said:
Maggie’s is welcoming, friendly and non-institutional, supporting people from the moment they ask for help, free of charge, and unconditionally for as long as help is needed... To me, that sounds like a description of a perfect friend. And, of course, Maggie’s centres are perfect friends to everyone who enters their doors.
Maggie's centres were the vision of Maggie Keswick Jencks who lived with advanced cancer for two years. After she died in 1995, her oncologist nurse, Dame Laura Lee, now Maggie’s Chief Executive, worked with Maggie’s family to make sure her vision became a reality.
Also in 2021, The Queen returned to Maggie’s very first centre in Edinburgh, that was built and opened in 1996.
As The Duchess of Cornwall, Her Majesty also became President of JDRF, a charity which helps fund world-class research approved and administered by their international research programme to cure, treat and prevent type 1 diabetes, and gives support to people with type 1 diabetes and their families.
In support of the charity and World Diabetes Day in November 2012, Clarence House was turned blue at night to raise awareness of the disease.
Her Majesty also supports a number of hospices. In 2020, during the Covid-19 pandemic, The Queen (then The Duchess of Cornwall) was joined by The Princess of Wales (then The Duchess of Cambridge) on a video call to mark Children’s Hospice Week. The two Duchesses spoke with three of their respective patronages, including Children’s Hospice South West, Helen & Douglas House and East Anglia Children’s Hospices.
Each year in December, The Queen invites children with life-shortening illnesses to decorate the Clarence House tree. In recent years, the invited children have been supported by Helen & Douglas House and Roald Dahl’s Marvellous Children’s Charity.
Helen & Douglas House is the world's first children's hospice which opened in 1982. The charity cares for local terminally ill children and their families from Oxfordshire and the surrounding counties. They provide medical, emotional and practical support, helping families deal with the implications of living with a child who will die prematurely, so they can make the most of their time together.
Roald Dahl's Marvellous Children's Charity was founded 30 years ago and provides specialist nurses and support for seriously ill children. It’s network of 82 Roald Dahl Nurses operate across the UK and they provide expert help and support to over 24,000 children and their families every year.
In 2020, despite the Covid-19 pandemic, Her Royal Highness was keen to hold the event in some form, and so children and their families attended virtually.