Camilla awarded honorary degree for work on bone condition
The Duchess of Cornwall has been awarded her first honorary doctorate for her work supporting osteoporosis patients, and scientists and medical staff who treat them.
Camilla was made a Doctor of Science by the University of Southampton during a campus ceremony where a number of PhD students also received their post doctorate degrees.
Wearing a sky blue and scarlet gown, the Duchess gave an acceptance speech where she praised the university's Faculty of Medicine for the work it is doing jointly with the University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust into musculoskeletal disease.
Camilla said about her interest in osteoporosis: "It is a deeply personal connection: I watched my own mother and grandmother suffering the appalling consequences of osteoporosis, which in the end resulted in their deaths.
"When my mother died in 1994, I knew scarcely anything about osteoporosis but I was determined to find out more - and to find a way of helping other people avoid the same excruciating pain and disregard that she encountered in those bad old days."
The Duchess went on to work for many years to promote understanding and raise awareness of osteoporosis, a devastating brittle bone disease, and has been president of the National Osteoporosis society for 15 years.
Professor Cyrus Cooper, the university's director of the Medical Research Council Lifecourse Epidemiology Centre who has worked with Camilla on a number of osteoporosis prevention projects, praised the commitment to supporting research staff.
He said: "As President of the National Osteoporosis Society, and a previous speaker for the International Osteoporosis Foundation, The Duchess of Cornwall has been a champion for all who work with, or suffer from, this debilitating disorder which leads to many thousands of fractures each year.
"The excellence of the clinical service and research programme here at the University of Southampton would not have been possible without the encouragement and support that she has given."
Later the Duchess donned a white coat and goggles for a visit to the university's Institute for Life Sciences, where she met academics and saw research projects into hybrid bio devices, prosthetics and regenerative medicine.