Queen Consort praised for raising awareness of 'horrific' violence against women and girls

The Queen Consort has described violence against women and girls as "a global pandemic" as she hosted a reception at Buckingham Palace to raise awareness of the issue.

Camilla was joined by dignitaries including Ukraine's first lady and Queen Rania of Jordan, as well as charity ambassadors and survivors of abuse at an event described by the palace as "a high watermark" of her work on the subject.

In a speech, the Queen Consort spoke of how more than 2,000 women will be killed by a partner or relative during the current UN 16 days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence - an annual international campaign to inspire action to tackle the issue.

"Up to one in three women across the globe will endure domestic abuse in the course of their lifetimes," she said.

"Behind every one of these statistics lie individual stories of human suffering and heartbreak.

"I have learnt from my conversations with these brave survivors that what they want, above all, is to be listened to and believed, to prevent the same thing happening to others."

Among those attending was Diana Parkes, whose daughter Jo Simpson was murdered by her estranged husband in 2010 and whose story brought Camilla to tears when they met six years ago.

"I think it's absolutely wonderful that the Queen Consort has taken this on," she said.

"Domestic abuse doesn't stop. The children must be taught that if they're in a house of domestic abuse, this isn't normal… We have to stop the cycle of abuse."

Spice Girl Mel B was also among the crowd. She kept her abusive relationship secret for a decade and said the Queen Consort's event was crucial to tackle the "taboo topic" of domestic violence.

She said: "It's amazing that she's holding court and making sure we do talk about it. We all get that little bit of a boost of confidence that we are on the right path by raising awareness and making a difference bit by bit."

Jude Kelly, CEO of Women of the World Foundation (WOW), said Camilla made an "amazing speech" about a subject which is "raw, horrific, frightening".

"I've never seen somebody at this level of society say we will speak out and we will make change."

And Claire Barnett, executive director of UN Women UK, described the decision to hold the reception as "an incredible step forward".

She continued to say: "I think anyone in a First Lady role globally who's bringing the issue of gender-based violence to the forefront of everything they do is absolutely incredible, both in terms of their personal passion, which we're really lucky to have, but it also means that this has now a public recognition in the mainstream conversations that violence against women and girls is not okay."