The Duchess of Cornwall saw how a charity is working to cure type one diabetes this week during a visit to Cambridge.
Her Royal Highness visited the Cambridge Wellcome Trust Clinical Research Facility at Addenbrooke’s Hospital to learn more about the work of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF).
During the tour of the facility, Her Royal Highness met Jeremy Irvine, star of Stephen Spielberg’s War Horse, who has type one diabetes. Irvine attended the event in a show of support. He was involved with trials of an artificial pancreas, which the charity is working on, in 2005 and 2007. He explained how technology helps him manage his type one diabetes while pursuing a hectic film career.
Afterwards, he said: “It was an honour to meet Her Royal Highness. Research and development have given me far greater freedom than 10 years ago and the research coming now will make sure type one diabetes doesn’t stop people following their aspirations.”
The Duchess also met children living with the condition and who have been involved with clinical trials. She told them: “You’re extremely brave. I’ve been reading about it and I had no idea how it can affect people’s lives.”
Her Royal Highness added: “I want to get more involved and help you all.”
Justin Webb, a presenter on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, also attended. His son, Sam, has the condition. He said: "This is a hugely important day to anyone unlucky enough to be affected by type one diabetes.
“The involvement of Her Royal Highness will help highlight the seriousness of the condition and bring us closer to a cure.”
Type one diabetes is a chronic, life-threatening condition which develops when the insulin-producing cells in the body have been destroyed and the body is unable to produce any insulin.
It normally develops before the age of 40, especially in childhood, and accounts for up to 15% of all people with diabetes.
Karen Addington, the charity’s chief executive, said: "We are extremely grateful to Her Royal Highness for helping us highlight this condition which affects more than 300,000 people of which 26,000 are children.
“There is nothing they could have done to prevent their condition and this visit will raise awareness and help us fund more research.”
The Duchess also visited Emmaus UK, a charity of which she is Patron. Emmaus UK works to provide shelter, jobs and opportunities to homeless people, and Her Royal Highness met the Cambridge community and visited its shop and warehouse.