A female royal personage this week took a stand on the controversial issue of sexual violence against women.
Instead of the usual polite banalities and grandstanding that we have come to expect from celebrities and royals on serious subjects, she actually said something powerful and important.
She did not mince her words. ‘How many more women must be harassed, raped or murdered?’ she stormed.
She argued that it was crucial for women to get the ‘men in our lives involved in this movement’.
That seemed to suggest that the majority of men didn’t care, or weren’t bothered about women being attacked or raped, which I don’t believe to be true, nor even fair. But there we are.
So which royal dared to speak out so fearlessly in the face of potential controversy? Not Kate, not the-me-you-can-see Meghan, not Beatrice, Eugenie nor their mothership, the Fergie.
Not Zara, not Sophie, not a vent from a Kent, not a Gloucester on the roster.
JAN MOIR: Yes, it was 74-year-old Camilla (pictured) who made one of the most startling speeches I can ever recall being made by a royalette
The diatribe did not come from any of the younger, more politically correct set, with their carefully curated grab-bag of causes, platitudes and hashtag activism. Remarkably, it came from the Duchess of Cornwall.
Yes, it was 74-year-old Camilla who made one of the most startling speeches I can ever recall being made by a royalette.
It wasn’t an easy subject. I didn’t agree with everything she said. In fact, I barely agreed with anything she said, including her bold assertion that society has come to believe that ‘violence against women is normal’.
Wait, what? Since when? Everybody knows that rape and murder are bad, come off it.
Yet how refreshing to hear a Duchess, by God, issuing such a powerful testimony; saying words of substance about something that really matters.
Camilla was speaking at a reception organised by the WOW Foundation (Women of the World) to launch the Shameless! Festival — a series of events taking place next month which will bring together art and activism to confront and change attitudes towards sexual violence.
The heart rather sinks at the thought of ‘workshops’ and ‘wellness spaces’ aimed at achieving this, but campaigners report that the stigma of shame can still haunt survivors of sexual violence, leaving them to struggle with another layer of anguish on top of the terrible violations they have already suffered.
JAN MOIR: How refreshing to hear a Duchess, by God, issuing such a powerful testimony; saying words of substance about something that really matters
That is absolutely heartbreaking. I hate to think of these women and girls caught in a lacerating spiral of self-blame after being attacked.
Or — perhaps even worse — to be accused of somehow bringing the attack upon themselves.
Anything that can help to lessen their burden of misplaced guilt is to be encouraged and supported.
During her speech the Duchess referenced several recent victims of violent crime, including Sarah Everard — kidnapped, raped and murdered by serving police officer Wayne Couzens.
Couzens, who used Covid powers to conduct a fake arrest of the 33-year-old marketing executive as she walked home from a friend’s house in March, has just lodged an appeal against his whole-life sentence. He feels he has been badly done by!
Is he appealing because he doesn’t believe violating and killing a woman deserves such punishment? Does he, like Camilla fears, believe that violence against women is now the norm? Or is he appealing because he is a psychopath, beyond the reach of reason and shame?
This is important, because one of the more startling things Camilla said was that ‘rapists are not born, they are constructed’.
Is this entirely true? Is it not the case that some people are not shaped into monsters by circumstance or corrupt influence, but are just born bad, beyond repair, their psyche a poisoned pip at the heart of a rotten apple?
People for whom no amount of Heads Together meetings or workshop sessions will ever cure their mental abnormality or the sickness in their soul?
If a brute like Wayne Couzens is a construct, as the Duchess seems to be suggesting, that implies that at some point he can be deconstructed.
His decision to appeal indicates that he is a long way from forming an appreciation or understanding of the gravity of his crime.
During her speech the Duchess (pictured) referenced several recent victims of violent crime, including Sarah Everard — kidnapped, raped and murdered by serving police officer Wayne Couzens
It is true that there have been some recent and terrible acts of violence against women. Sabina Nessa, the primary school teacher killed minutes from home; Geetika Goyal, stabbed to death by her husband; Wenjing Lin, a schoolgirl found dead at home; Bennylyn Burke, a mother who was killed. Each and every one a terrible and regrettable death.
But while duchesses and organisations campaign to try to keep women safe, it is important to remember that cases such as these are so shocking because they are, thankfully, so rare.
And with more than 75 per cent of murder victims being male, it is men rather than women who are in far greater danger of meeting a violent end in this country. If I had children, I’d be far more worried about my sons than my daughters.
And while I genuinely applaud her passionate immersion in such a difficult subject, I wonder if Camilla urging women to get their menfolk ‘involved’ is entirely helpful.
The huge majority of men have never committed or condoned sexual violence against women and would be horrified at the thought that they would casually ignore such crimes. So let’s not make this a polarising issue.
Our fathers, brothers, male friends and colleagues — we are all in it together. On this issue in particular, let us not be apart.
Evans above, Alice!
Actress Alice Evans has become a heroine with the Wronged Wives Club, a cheerleader for the Sorrowing Sorority of Dumped Dames as she unflinchingly lays bare her husband’s alleged perfidy on her social media accounts.
I don’t know whether to applaud Alice’s furious updates or urge her to close the lid on her keyboard for the sake of the kids.
She accuses estranged husband Ioan Gruffudd of cheating on her for at least a year — after he went ‘Instagram official’ with new love Bianca Wallace.
‘Thanks for making me smile again,’ he posted under a cosy photograph of them together. He may have meant well, but how wounding for his poor wife (right, with Ioan).
All over: Alice Evans confirmed she and Ioan were splitting after 20 years in a shock statement she shared on Twitter in January 2021 (pictured together in 2018)
There is something so wild and almost exhilarating about Alice’s refusal to go quietly into that long, dark night of the scorned.
Many women who have suffered a betrayal will surely feel a tiny spark of solidarity as she issues another online beating to her husband.
But there are two sides to every story — and we have only heard from Alice.
However, it does seem unfair that he (The Man) can move smoothly on to a lovely new life with a comely lover while she (The Woman) is left stewing in the wreckage of their family, with two bewildered young daughters to care for.
On balance, I feel her pain but I do urge caution. Vengeance is sweet, but while wrecking her husband’s reputation and possibly even his acting career might make her feel better for a moment, it is not going to help their children.
And in the end, aren’t they all that matter?
Ewe take a risk by inviting in TV cameras
Trouble down on t’farm. The ‘Yorkshire Shepherdess’ Amanda Owen has reportedly moved out of the home she shares with her husband, Clive, and their nine children.
The stars of Our Yorkshire Farm, the popular Channel 5 fly-on-the-shed series, admit that their marriage has hit turbulence, but hopefully only temporarily.
It is not because of their 19‑year age gap or the pressures of the lambing season. Sadly, it is because of that old chestnut and dastardly devil — media intrusion.
The ‘Yorkshire Shepherdess’ Amanda Owen (pictured) has reportedly moved out of the home she shares with her husband, Clive, and their nine children
‘Unfortunately the constant intrusion into our lives from the media has amplified a rocky patch that we’re going through,’ they said in a statement.
I’m sad for their difficulties and hope they can work something out — but be fair.
If you invite a TV crew into your home to film your every move over three years, which produces five television series avidly watched by millions, then surely it’s a bit of a mint sauce to blame the media for your problems.
The COP26 conference gets more surplus to requirements by the hour. Especially now that the Queen has cancelled her attendance, making this great Glasgow green-in seem even more irrelevant.
In Glasgow, the local SNP council presides over a city in the grip of a rodent infestation and a rubbish collection problem, while hundreds of patients have had their doctor’s appointments cancelled or rescheduled in a bid to reduce traffic during the conference. How utterly enraging.
Once more, the needs and comforts of ordinary citizens are being sacrificed for some greater, greener ideal over which they have no control.
‘It’s really irritating when they talk, but they don’t do,’ said the Queen, over world leaders spouting platitudes about climate change.
No wonder she has checked her diary and discovered she is washing her corgis when the conference takes place. The last thing we all need is more hot air.
Adele has released tickets for a Hyde Park concert next summer
Tickets for Adele’s shows in Hyde Park, London, next year have gone on sale.
It’s basically a gig in a field, but promoters have dreamt up new ways to justify charging a fortune.
General admission is £90.45. After this is something called Primary Entry (sounds painful, £111.85).
Then there’s Gold (£273.95); Diamond VIP (£379.95); VIP Terrace (£434.95) and the Ultimate Bar Diamond and Ultimate Terrace — £579.95.
For what? Watching a tiny Adele singing her heart out half a mile away?
A run of concerts in a smaller venue would have been a better deal for her fans — but a lot more effort for her.
Princess Mako of Japan married her commoner sweetheart and had to leave the royal family.
She had no problem with that. She made her choice, she accepted the consequences. She went quietly, off into a life of anonymity, all for the sake of love.
Mako has no plans to give interviews, she doesn’t want to save the world before teatime and says that all she wants is a peaceful life with her love.
This so reminds me of Prince Harry, I don’t think.
There is a hideous new trend afoot in the U.S. — school photo retouching services, often being done without parents’ consent.
Kids pay to have their freckles removed, teeth whitened, skin tones evened out, etc.
So sad! A photo of yourself in the fourth form — spotty, grotty , geeky, specky — is a rite of passage, a marker of time.
A Hollywood airbrushed version of yourself as a teen pupil? How terrible. I blame Kim Kardashian. It’s usually her fault