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Duchess of Cornwall opens up about her mother’s death from osteoporosis

The Duchess of Cornwall is throwing her support behind the National Osteoporosis Society’s (NOS) new campaign – ‘Lace Up For Bones’. The campaign, which launches on 18 July, is designed to spread the word about osteoporosis and the NOS by encouraging supporters to wear bright orange laces and share photos of them ‘Lace[ing] Up For Bones’ on social media.

During a star-studded event to celebrate the NOS’s 30th anniversary the Duchess was gifted a pair of £300 Dubarry calf length boots with brightly coloured orange laces so that she too can join in.

The event was meant to be a Clarence House garden party but torrential summer showers pushed guests such as actors Richard E. Grant, Miriam Margolyes and Felicity Kendall and Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes into the state apartments of nearby St James’s Palace.

The Duchess was joined at the party by her children, Tom Parker-Bowles and Laura Lopes, as well as her sister, Annabel Elliot, and Princess Margaret’s daughter Lady Sarah Chatto.

In a speech to the assembled guests the Duchess praised the huge advances in tackling osteoporosis as a result of the charity’s work and shared some insight into her personal experience with the disease.

She said: ‘I became involved in it in 1994 after watching my mother stoically suffering the appalling pain and ignominy of this devastating disease, which in the end resulted in her early death at the age of 72.

‘Back in those dark old days my family was not alone in knowing next to nothing about osteoporosis. It was rarely discussed and seldom diagnosed and usually attributed to women of a certain age.

‘I was determined, for my mama’s sake, to find out more and to find a way of helping others avoid the same excruciating pain and disregard that she, and many of her generation encountered.’

In looking towards the future she warned: ‘We still have a long way to go. It is estimated that about three million people in the UK have osteoporosis. One out of two women over the age of 50 will break a bone as the result of it and I’m sorry to say that men don’t get away with it either. One out of five of them will suffer a fracture too…It actually costs NHS hospitals a staggering £5 million a day in hip fractures alone.’

In addition to her speech at the event the Duchess – in a powder blue dress by Bruce Oldfield – presented the Duchess of Cornwall Award, which recognises individuals for their outstanding contribution to the field of osteoporosis.

This year’s recipient was Professor David Marsh, Emeritus Professor of Orthopaedics at University College London. Professor March has been instrumental in a number of significant projects in the field, most notably creating and running the National Hip Fracture Database, which has led to significant improvements in patient care.

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