Queen Camilla becomes patron of the Anne Frank Trust UK

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Queen Camilla becomes patron of the Anne Frank Trust UK

Ahead of Holocaust Memorial Day 2024 on Saturday 27 January, Camilla is announced as the educational charity's first royal patron

HM the Queen at Anne Frank Trust UK Annual Lunch 2022
HM the Queen at Anne Frank Trust UK Annual Lunch 2022

Queen Camilla has been announced as the first royal patron of the Anne Frank Trust UK.

In 2022, as Duchess of Cornwall, she was guest of honour at the charity’s annual lunch. The event marked Holocaust Memorial Day and the 75th anniversary of the publication of Anne Frank’s diary.

As part of her speech, the Queen said: “Let us… learn from those who bore witness to the horrors of the Holocaust, and all subsequent genocides, and commit ourselves to keeping their stories alive, so that each generation will be ready to tackle hatred in any of its terrible forms. And let us carry with us the words and wisdom Anne Frank (a child of only 14 years old) wrote on 7th May 1944: “What is done cannot be undone, but at least one can prevent it from happening again”.

Nicola Cobbold, chair of the Anne Frank Trust, says: “On the eve of Holocaust Memorial Day, the profound honour of Royal Patronage emphasises the importance of Holocaust remembrance and anti-prejudice education. Her Majesty’s interest in young people and in reading is well known and long-standing.

“As a youth charity whose key educational tool is a beloved book, Anne Frank’s Diary, we could not be more delighted to have Her Majesty as our Patron. What this confirms, too, is the Queen’s deep commitment to commemorating the six million Jews murdered by the Nazis and to overcoming prejudice today. The devastating events in Israel and Gaza have led to unprecedented levels of antisemitism here in Britain, as well as a significant rise in Islamophobia. Her Majesty’s support could not be more timely as we all work to challenge hatred and build social cohesion at this critical time.”

Anne Frank’s picture postcard of Princess Elizabeth. Pic: Anne Frank Trust UK

Tim Robertson, chief executive of the Anne Frank Trust said: “Had she not been murdered for being Jewish, Anne Frank could have been alive today, aged 94. As we mark Holocaust Memorial Day, it is heartbreakingly poignant to think how much Queen Camilla’s patronage would have meant to Anne.

“A passion for royalty was one of the hobbies that gave Anne hope and happiness during her two years in hiding from the Nazis. The cruelty with which she was robbed of her future is what drives us to make a difference today, engaging young people of Anne’s age in learning the crucial lessons of the Holocaust. As we seek to grow our educational impact even further, especially running up to the centenary of Anne Frank’s birth in 2029, it is tremendously heartening to know that we have Her Majesty’s support.”

Gillian Walnes MBE, vice president and co-founder of the Anne Frank Trust, says:  “This is such wonderful news. It is actually quite hard to believe that the educational charity that I, along with Rabbi David Soetendorp, Eva Schloss and the late Bee Klug, started from my study in Dorset in 1990, has arrived at this remarkable recognition.

AFT lunch 2022 young people with the Duchess of Cornwall, later Queen Camilla. Pic: Anne Frank Trust UK

“A huge well done to Tim Robertson and all those staff and trustees who, over the intervening years, have made the Anne Frank Trust such a special organisation. And to the Anne Frank House and Anne Frank-Fonds for their wise guidance, and to our hundreds of loyal supporters. Finally, thank you to our guiding light, Otto Frank, the broken, grieving Holocaust survivor who determined that his daughter’s diary should become a universal force for good.”

Eva Clarke BEM, Holocaust survivor said: “I have worked with The Anne Frank Trust over many years and am absolutely delighted The Queen is becoming its Royal Patron.  I tell the story of my family’s experience of the Holocaust to audiences across the country and occasionally abroad because I feel it is so important to keep the memory of the Holocaust alive and to do everything possible to counteract antisemitism and any form of racism and prejudice.

“In my opinion, no one can identify with six million, but everyone can identify with one family. Survivors help to make the history come alive and in my case, particularly the Dutch members of my family, some of whom perished, but some survived.”

Anne Frank was a committed royalist. One of her hobbies while in hiding was to trace the family trees of European royal families. On 21 April 1944 she recorded in her diary the 18th birthday of “this beauty” Princess Elizabeth of York, later HM Queen Elizabeth II. Her picture postcards of Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret can still be seen on the walls of her bedroom in what is now the Anne Frank House Museum, visited by over 1 million visitors a year.

Anne Frank was aged 15 when she died of starvation and disease in Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in early 1945. She was one of the 6 million Jews murdered in the Holocaust. Before being arrested, Anne and her family hid for over 2 years in a secret apartment in Nazi-occupied Amsterdam. While in hiding Anne wrote her diary, which was published in 1947 and has since sold 35 million copies worldwide.

Through learning about Anne Frank and the Holocaust, The Anne Frank Trust empowers young people aged 9 to 15 to challenge all forms of prejudice. In 2023 the Trust reached 119,000 young people in over 800 schools across Britain.

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