Duchess of Cornwall recalls reading Anne Frank’s diary ‘when I was the same age as her’
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Duchess of Cornwall recalls reading Anne Frank’s diary ‘when I was the same age as her’

The Duchess called Anne's story ‘one in six million that needs to be told’ as she marked the 75th anniversary of the beloved diary's publication.

Jack Mendel is the former Online Editor at the Jewish News.

  • (left to right) Farina Mannan Head of the Lunch committee, Daniel Mendoza OBE, Tim Robertson Chief Executive of the Anne Frank Trust, the Duchess of Cornwall, Eva Schloss MBE step-sister of Anne Frank and Honorary President of the Anne Frank Trust UK and Dame Joanna Lumley during a reception for the Anne Frank Trust at the InterContinental London, Park Lane, London. Picture date: Thursday January 20, 2022.
    (left to right) Farina Mannan Head of the Lunch committee, Daniel Mendoza OBE, Tim Robertson Chief Executive of the Anne Frank Trust, the Duchess of Cornwall, Eva Schloss MBE step-sister of Anne Frank and Honorary President of the Anne Frank Trust UK and Dame Joanna Lumley during a reception for the Anne Frank Trust at the InterContinental London, Park Lane, London. Picture date: Thursday January 20, 2022.
  • The Duchess of Cornwall (right) speaks to Dame Joanna Lumley (left) and Farina Mannan Head of the Lunch committee during a reception for the Anne Frank Trust at the InterContinental London, Park Lane, London. Picture date: Thursday January 20, 2022.
    The Duchess of Cornwall (right) speaks to Dame Joanna Lumley (left) and Farina Mannan Head of the Lunch committee during a reception for the Anne Frank Trust at the InterContinental London, Park Lane, London. Picture date: Thursday January 20, 2022.
  • Eva Schloss MBE, step-sister of Anne Frank and Honorary President of the Anne Frank Trust UK, the Duchess of Cornwall and Dame Joanna Lumley watch a performance by young ambassadors of the charity during a reception for the Anne Frank Trust at the InterContinental London, Park Lane, London. Picture date: Thursday January 20, 2022.
    Eva Schloss MBE, step-sister of Anne Frank and Honorary President of the Anne Frank Trust UK, the Duchess of Cornwall and Dame Joanna Lumley watch a performance by young ambassadors of the charity during a reception for the Anne Frank Trust at the InterContinental London, Park Lane, London. Picture date: Thursday January 20, 2022.
  • The Duchess of Cornwall is presented with an inscribed copy of Anne Frank's Diary during a reception for the Anne Frank Trust at the InterContinental London, Park Lane, London. Picture date: Thursday January 20, 2022.
    The Duchess of Cornwall is presented with an inscribed copy of Anne Frank's Diary during a reception for the Anne Frank Trust at the InterContinental London, Park Lane, London. Picture date: Thursday January 20, 2022.
  • The Duchess of Cornwall (2nd right) speaks to Dame Joanna Lumley (left) and Farina Mannan Head of the Lunch committee during a reception for the Anne Frank Trust at the InterContinental London, Park Lane, London. Picture date: Thursday January 20, 2022.
    The Duchess of Cornwall (2nd right) speaks to Dame Joanna Lumley (left) and Farina Mannan Head of the Lunch committee during a reception for the Anne Frank Trust at the InterContinental London, Park Lane, London. Picture date: Thursday January 20, 2022.
  • The Duchess of Cornwall (2nd right) speaks to Dame Joanna Lumley (left) and Farina Mannan Head of the Lunch committee during a reception for the Anne Frank Trust at the InterContinental London, Park Lane, London. Picture date: Thursday January 20, 2022.
    The Duchess of Cornwall (2nd right) speaks to Dame Joanna Lumley (left) and Farina Mannan Head of the Lunch committee during a reception for the Anne Frank Trust at the InterContinental London, Park Lane, London. Picture date: Thursday January 20, 2022.
  • Eva Schloss MBE, step-sister of Anne Frank and Honorary President of the Anne Frank Trust UK, the Duchess of Cornwall and Dame Joanna Lumley watch a performance by young ambassadors of the charity during a reception for the Anne Frank Trust at the InterContinental London, Park Lane, London. Picture date: Thursday January 20, 2022.
    Eva Schloss MBE, step-sister of Anne Frank and Honorary President of the Anne Frank Trust UK, the Duchess of Cornwall and Dame Joanna Lumley watch a performance by young ambassadors of the charity during a reception for the Anne Frank Trust at the InterContinental London, Park Lane, London. Picture date: Thursday January 20, 2022.
  • The Duchess of Cornwall (right) speaks to Eva Schloss MBE, step-sister of Anne Frank and Honorary President of the Anne Frank Trust UK during a reception for the Anne Frank Trust at the InterContinental London, Park Lane, London. Picture date: Thursday January 20, 2022.
    The Duchess of Cornwall (right) speaks to Eva Schloss MBE, step-sister of Anne Frank and Honorary President of the Anne Frank Trust UK during a reception for the Anne Frank Trust at the InterContinental London, Park Lane, London. Picture date: Thursday January 20, 2022.
  • Eva Schloss MBE, step-sister of Anne Frank and Honorary President of the Anne Frank Trust UK, the Duchess of Cornwall and Dame Joanna Lumley watch a performance by young ambassadors of the charity during a reception for the Anne Frank Trust at the InterContinental London, Park Lane, London. Picture date: Thursday January 20, 2022.
    Eva Schloss MBE, step-sister of Anne Frank and Honorary President of the Anne Frank Trust UK, the Duchess of Cornwall and Dame Joanna Lumley watch a performance by young ambassadors of the charity during a reception for the Anne Frank Trust at the InterContinental London, Park Lane, London. Picture date: Thursday January 20, 2022.
  • The Duchess of Cornwall makes a speech during a reception for the Anne Frank Trust at the InterContinental London, Park Lane, London. Picture date: Thursday January 20, 2022.
    The Duchess of Cornwall makes a speech during a reception for the Anne Frank Trust at the InterContinental London, Park Lane, London. Picture date: Thursday January 20, 2022.
  • (left to right) Eva Schloss MBE, step-sister of Anne Frank and Honorary President of the Anne Frank Trust UK, the Duchess of Cornwall and Dame Joanna Lumley watch a performance by young ambassadors of the charity during a reception for the Anne Frank Trust at the InterContinental London, Park Lane, London. Picture date: Thursday January 20, 2022.
    (left to right) Eva Schloss MBE, step-sister of Anne Frank and Honorary President of the Anne Frank Trust UK, the Duchess of Cornwall and Dame Joanna Lumley watch a performance by young ambassadors of the charity during a reception for the Anne Frank Trust at the InterContinental London, Park Lane, London. Picture date: Thursday January 20, 2022.
  • The Duchess of Cornwall (right) speaks to Dame Joanna Lumley (left) and Farina Mannan Head of the Lunch committee during a reception for the Anne Frank Trust at the InterContinental London, Park Lane, London. Picture date: Thursday January 20, 2022.
    The Duchess of Cornwall (right) speaks to Dame Joanna Lumley (left) and Farina Mannan Head of the Lunch committee during a reception for the Anne Frank Trust at the InterContinental London, Park Lane, London. Picture date: Thursday January 20, 2022.
  • The Duchess of Cornwall (right) speaks to Eva Schloss MBE, step-sister of Anne Frank and Honorary President of the Anne Frank Trust UK during a reception for the Anne Frank Trust at the InterContinental London, Park Lane, London. Picture date: Thursday January 20, 2022.
    The Duchess of Cornwall (right) speaks to Eva Schloss MBE, step-sister of Anne Frank and Honorary President of the Anne Frank Trust UK during a reception for the Anne Frank Trust at the InterContinental London, Park Lane, London. Picture date: Thursday January 20, 2022.
  • The Duchess of Cornwall (2nd right) speaks to Dame Joanna Lumley (left) and Farina Mannan Head of the Lunch committee during a reception for the Anne Frank Trust at the InterContinental London, Park Lane, London. Picture date: Thursday January 20, 2022.
    The Duchess of Cornwall (2nd right) speaks to Dame Joanna Lumley (left) and Farina Mannan Head of the Lunch committee during a reception for the Anne Frank Trust at the InterContinental London, Park Lane, London. Picture date: Thursday January 20, 2022.
  • Eva Schloss MBE, step-sister of Anne Frank and Honorary President of the Anne Frank Trust UK, takes part in a candle lighting ceremony during a reception for the Anne Frank Trust at the InterContinental London, Park Lane, London. Picture date: Thursday January 20, 2022.
    Eva Schloss MBE, step-sister of Anne Frank and Honorary President of the Anne Frank Trust UK, takes part in a candle lighting ceremony during a reception for the Anne Frank Trust at the InterContinental London, Park Lane, London. Picture date: Thursday January 20, 2022.
  • The Duchess of Cornwall makes a speech during a reception for the Anne Frank Trust at the InterContinental London, Park Lane, London. Picture date: Thursday January 20, 2022.
    The Duchess of Cornwall makes a speech during a reception for the Anne Frank Trust at the InterContinental London, Park Lane, London. Picture date: Thursday January 20, 2022.
  • The Duchess of Cornwall (right) speaks to Dame Joanna Lumley (left) and Farina Mannan Head of the Lunch committee during a reception for the Anne Frank Trust at the InterContinental London, Park Lane, London. Picture date: Thursday January 20, 2022.
    The Duchess of Cornwall (right) speaks to Dame Joanna Lumley (left) and Farina Mannan Head of the Lunch committee during a reception for the Anne Frank Trust at the InterContinental London, Park Lane, London. Picture date: Thursday January 20, 2022.
  • PABest The Duchess of Cornwall makes a speech during a reception for the Anne Frank Trust at the InterContinental London, Park Lane, London. Picture date: Thursday January 20, 2022.
    PABest The Duchess of Cornwall makes a speech during a reception for the Anne Frank Trust at the InterContinental London, Park Lane, London. Picture date: Thursday January 20, 2022.
  • Eva Schloss MBE, step-sister of Anne Frank and Honorary President of the Anne Frank Trust UK, takes part in a candle lighting ceremony during a reception for the Anne Frank Trust at the InterContinental London, Park Lane, London. Picture date: Thursday January 20, 2022.
    Eva Schloss MBE, step-sister of Anne Frank and Honorary President of the Anne Frank Trust UK, takes part in a candle lighting ceremony during a reception for the Anne Frank Trust at the InterContinental London, Park Lane, London. Picture date: Thursday January 20, 2022.
  • The Duchess of Cornwall (2nd right) speaks to Dame Joanna Lumley (left) and Farina Mannan Head of the Lunch committee during a reception for the Anne Frank Trust at the InterContinental London, Park Lane, London. Picture date: Thursday January 20, 2022.
    The Duchess of Cornwall (2nd right) speaks to Dame Joanna Lumley (left) and Farina Mannan Head of the Lunch committee during a reception for the Anne Frank Trust at the InterContinental London, Park Lane, London. Picture date: Thursday January 20, 2022.
  • Tim Robertson, Chief Executive of the Anne Frank Trust, Eva Schloss MBE, step-sister of Anne Frank and Honorary President of the Anne Frank Trust UK, the Duchess of Cornwall and Dame Joanna Lumley watch a performance by young ambassadors of the charity during a reception for the Anne Frank Trust at the InterContinental London, Park Lane, London. Picture date: Thursday January 20, 2022.
    Tim Robertson, Chief Executive of the Anne Frank Trust, Eva Schloss MBE, step-sister of Anne Frank and Honorary President of the Anne Frank Trust UK, the Duchess of Cornwall and Dame Joanna Lumley watch a performance by young ambassadors of the charity during a reception for the Anne Frank Trust at the InterContinental London, Park Lane, London. Picture date: Thursday January 20, 2022.
  • The Duchess of Cornwall makes a speech during a reception for the Anne Frank Trust at the InterContinental London, Park Lane, London. Picture date: Thursday January 20, 2022.
    The Duchess of Cornwall makes a speech during a reception for the Anne Frank Trust at the InterContinental London, Park Lane, London. Picture date: Thursday January 20, 2022.
  • Eva Schloss MBE, step-sister of Anne Frank and Honorary President of the Anne Frank Trust UK, and the Duchess of Cornwall take part in a candle lighting ceremony during a reception for the Anne Frank Trust at the InterContinental London, Park Lane, London. Picture date: Thursday January 20, 2022.
    Eva Schloss MBE, step-sister of Anne Frank and Honorary President of the Anne Frank Trust UK, and the Duchess of Cornwall take part in a candle lighting ceremony during a reception for the Anne Frank Trust at the InterContinental London, Park Lane, London. Picture date: Thursday January 20, 2022.
  • Eva Schloss MBE, step-sister of Anne Frank and Honorary President of the Anne Frank Trust UK, and the Duchess of Cornwall take part in a candle lighting ceremony during a reception for the Anne Frank Trust at the InterContinental London, Park Lane, London. Picture date: Thursday January 20, 2022.
    Eva Schloss MBE, step-sister of Anne Frank and Honorary President of the Anne Frank Trust UK, and the Duchess of Cornwall take part in a candle lighting ceremony during a reception for the Anne Frank Trust at the InterContinental London, Park Lane, London. Picture date: Thursday January 20, 2022.
  • Azeem Rafiq, guest, Katie Amess, guest, Eva Schloss MBE, step-sister of Anne Frank and Honorary President of the Anne Frank Trust UK, and the Duchess of Cornwall take part in a candle lighting ceremony during a reception for the Anne Frank Trust at the InterContinental London, Park Lane, London. Picture date: Thursday January 20, 2022.
    Azeem Rafiq, guest, Katie Amess, guest, Eva Schloss MBE, step-sister of Anne Frank and Honorary President of the Anne Frank Trust UK, and the Duchess of Cornwall take part in a candle lighting ceremony during a reception for the Anne Frank Trust at the InterContinental London, Park Lane, London. Picture date: Thursday January 20, 2022.

The Duchess of Cornwall has emotionally shared childhood memories of reading Anne Frank “when I was the same age as her”, on the 75th anniversary of the publication of the teenager’s iconic diary.

Addressing an Anne Frank Trust UK lunch ahead of Holocaust Memorial Day, the Duchess said the diarist’s “life and her death continue inspire worldwide movement of anti prejudice education”.

Recalling her “exceptional gift for words”, she recognised her ability to offer “comfort, meaning and hope”, while detailing her life hiding from Nazi persecution in occupied Amsterdam.

“Like many others, I first read this diary when I was the same age as her”, she said, before recalling the “solemn privilege” of visiting Auschwitz for the 75th anniversary of its liberation in January 2020. Anne perished at Bergen-Belsen after her family was betrayed and they were captured in 1944.

Anne Frank pictured before the war.

The Duchess reflected on having the “pleasure” to have met some of the “thousands of pupils the Trust reaches every year, in schools across the country.

“Their understanding of the past and their dedication to a better future are a testament of all of you”, she said, which works “to speak out against prejudice of any kind.

“But Anne’s story is, of course, one in six million; six million stories that need to be told, heard and remembered to honour those lives that were lost and to force us to understand the consequences extreme hatred.

Sharing the message of survivor Marian Turski to “never be bystanders” against prejudice, the Duchess recalled her visit to Auschwitz in January 2020, to mark the 75th anniversary of the camp’s liberation.

Before addressing the central London event, which was presented by BBC broadcaster Jo Coburn, she was presented with an inscribed copy of Anne Frank’s Diary, and watched a presentation by 15 young people from three schools across the country, sharing Anne Frank’s message against discrimination.

An empty room at the Anne Frank House museum in Amsterdam, where the diarist and her family hid for two years during the Holocaust.

She took part in a candle-lighting ceremony alongside Eva Schloss, step-sister of Anne Frank and Honorary President of the Anne Frank Trust UK and Annabel Schild, daughter of Kindertransportee Rolf Schild. Also participating was former cricketer-turned racism whistle blower Azeem Rafiq, who met Jewish community leaders last year after apologising for antisemitism messages, Katie Amess, daughter of the murdered MP Sir David Amess and Michelle Parker, survivor of a mass shooting in Plymouth.

Speaking after the Duchess was Dame Joanna Lumley, actress, activist and campaigner. In a speech tinged with both comedy and a serious message against discrimination, she said she’d always be remembered as Absolutely Fabulous character, “the repellent, Patsy Stone.”

The Anne Frank Trust, she jokingly said “did wonder if they could invite me to come here and address you all as Patsy”.  It was “not appropriate in this context, but actually not so alien either. Like most of you here, and like her royal highness, I read Anne Frank’s diary when I was about the same age as Anne, about 14 and I loved it.

“And a big part of what I loved about it was and completely brilliant sense of humour.

“It’s not at all, a heavy, serious tone, written by a saintly angel. Anne is frequently naughty. She regularly gets into arguments and causes trouble with her family and with the others in hiding with her. And she’s marvellously candid about her own failings.

“She’s a terrific comic writer. She’s very witty in her characterisation of herself and others. And she uses lots of her diary to record the fun they had in the secret annex.

“Perhaps Anne’s greatest writer talent is her gift for intimacy, the way she puts us right into her feelings.

“Ultimately, what the humour in the book does is make us care passionately about these likeable, decent people hiding in an attic in Amsterdam. And this is how it brings home to a so powerfully, yjust how much the Nazis destroyed.

“Here are all the amusing, silly, touching details that make up ordinary, sociable human life. Here are the opportunities for future happiness.

She also praised the work of the Trust, saying after the hostage-taking in Texas on Saturday “we know that antisemitism continues to be a horribly active force in our world. And we know that the only way to overcome that force is for Jewish and non Jewish people to stand together. It is by connecting across our differences, that we can thought those who try to make our differences to turn our differences into hatred.”

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