CAMILLA, Duchess of Cornwall, has revealed what she considers to be the “darker side” of the countryside life she loves as she opens up about a “cause that is particularly close to my heart”.
The Duchess, who celebrates her 75th birthday on Sunday, has taken on a guest editorship of Country Life magazine to mark the occasion. The Prince of Wales took on the same duty back in 2013 and 2018.
In an article for the magazine, Camilla described the darker underbelly of countryside life which may go unacknowledged among the picturesque landscapes and ideas of tight-knit communities.
he Duchess painted a picture of her childhood, in which her family cultivated a “profound sense” of being comfortable away from big towns and cities.
She pointed to crime rates and the “physical isolation” which can give rise to hidden instances of domestic violence.
The Duchess gave an impassioned speech last month in which she put the spotlight on “violence in the home against women and girls today and remember that we are seeking rights, not favours”.
Describing the countryside as an “idyll”, she argued rural life will often have “a darker side”, which she acknowledges despite “being at home in the countryside”.
She wrote: “On these pages, I have sought also to explore challenging subjects: the ever-increasing rise in rural crime, the struggles faced by family farms that can, tragically, result in suicide, and the uniquely difficult circumstances of those experiencing domestic abuse in remote areas.
“The latter is a cause that is particularly close to my heart: I know that physical isolation is often used to advantage by perpetrators and that victims in rural areas find it harder to reach out to seek help, especially in close-knit communities where everyone knows one another and where support services might be more limited.
“Crucially, however, there is hope and there are steps that each one of us, whatever our circumstances, can take to help.
“All of us can have a role to play both in listening and in speaking out about this too-often hidden crime.”
The Duchess went on to detail just how connected her husband, Prince Charles, is to the greener pastures of Britain, describing the countryside as the place where he “finds true peace”.
She rendered the Prince of Wales, 73, as “fluent in the rural tongue”, and a “countryman to his very core”.
Prince Charles and Camilla will often make the trip back to their rural Gloucestershire residence of Highgrove in Tetbury.
The nine-bedroom property has been one of Charles’ favourites since he purchased the estate in 1980.
Camilla also owns a six-bedroom house in Lacock, near Chippenham, which she has enjoyed since the mid-1990s.
She was photographed at Raymill in Wiltshire by the Duchess of Cambridge for the guest editorship of the magazine.
The Duchess of Cornwall wrote: “My husband is a countryman to his very core.
She continued: “Whether he’s hedge-laying in the pouring rain, striding, like a mountain goat, up impossibly steep Highland hills, planting trees in the arboretum or pruning at Highgrove, this is where he finds true peace.”
She added: “His knowledge comes not only from books, but from hard-won experience, tramping every inch of the countryside, from north to south, east to west, talking, listening, supporting and celebrating. He’s fluent in the rural tongue.
“Dry-stone wallers and crofters, shepherds and weavers, cheesemakers, stick-whittlers, potters and blacksmiths – he is their champion and public voice, a passionate advocate of all things rural.”