'Ladies and gentlemen... if I can call you that!' Camilla jokes about gender identity in speech

·Freelance Writer
·3-min read

The Duchess of Cornwall took a cheeky swipe at identity politics during a speech to guests who turned out to celebrate her 75th birthday.

Actors, musicians and writers joined Camilla for a champagne reception and sea bass lunch at the National Liberal Club, Whitehall, on Tuesday.

Starting her address, Camilla referenced people’s pronouns as she said: “Ladies and gentlemen… if I’m allowed to call you that!”

Camilla’s light-hearted jibe was a reference to the current debate about gender identity and how people choose to identify.

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 12: Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall during The Oldie Luncheon, in celebration of her 75th Birthday at National Liberal Club on July 12, 2022 in London, England. (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)
The Duchess of Cornwall poked fun at gender identity during The Oldie Luncheon, in celebration of her 75th Birthday at National Liberal Club. (Getty)
LONDON, ENGLAND- JULY 12: Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall poses with Chelsea Pensioners and a cake he cake which has representations of her racing colours and favorite pets as the Duchess celebrates her 75th birthday at a lunch, hosted by the Oldie Magazine at the National Liberal Club on July 12, 2022 in London, England. The lunch organized by Gyles Brandreth and the Oldie was arranged to celebrate the Duchess's birthday but also celebrates people over the age of 75 who are continuing to serve. The theme is
Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall poses with Chelsea Pensioners and a cake for her 75th birthday. (WPA/Getty)

Responding to the comments, Clarence House said it was up to others how to interpret them but aides suggested they were in keeping with the “irreverent” spirit of the lunch, according to the Daily Mail.

Camila’s speech comes as identity politics is discussed by Tory leadership candidates as they battle to replace Boris Johnson as prime minister.

Transport secretary Grant Shapps said the UK does not “need to get caught up” in a culture war on the issue, adding that people are far more interested in “bread and butter issues” like the cost of living crisis.

Watch: Camilla joined by friends for 75th birthday 'Oldie Luncheon'

Fellow leadership hopeful Tom Tugendhat called for a “clean start” in the trans rights debate, while stressing the importance of women-only spaces and “dignity” for all.

Penny Mordaunt, meanwhile, published a Twitter thread stressing she has been alongside women “in every major battle”, in response to criticism she is a “woke” candidate.

Elsewhere in her speech, Camilla proclaimed she is a “confirmed oldie” and cracked jokes about toilet paper, as she celebrated the achievements of those aged over 70.

Camilla's comments poked fun at the ongoing debate about pronouns and gender identity. (In Pictures/Getty)
Camilla's comments poked fun at the ongoing debate about pronouns and gender identity. (In Pictures/Getty)

“You sweetly thought you were here because of who you are,” broadcaster Gyles Brandreth, who organised the party, joked with guests.

“You’re actually here because of how old you are.”

Camilla spoke about the year she was born and paid tribute to the Duke of Edinburgh, who died in April last year.

“I know that some of you were around in 1947 – by the way, a vintage year for claret,” she said.

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 12: (L-R) Tom Parker Bowles, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall and Gyles Brandreth during The Oldie Luncheon, in celebration of her 75th Birthday at National Liberal Club on July 12, 2022 in London, England. (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)
Tom Parker Bowles, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall and Gyles Brandreth during The Oldie Luncheon. (Getty)

“It was also the year when the first Ealing Comedies were released, the school leaving age was raised to 15, Gardeners’ Question Time was first broadcast, the University of Cambridge admitted women to full membership and soft loo paper went on sale for the first time.

“It was also in 1947 that the-then Princess Elizabeth married Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten: two of the most remarkable people in our country’s history.

“The Duke of Edinburgh’s philosophy was clear – look up, look out, say less, do more and get on with the job – and that’s just what I intend to do.”