The Duchess of Cornwall has sympathised with a former cancer patient whose husband is being treated for the disease, telling her “miracles do happen”.
Camilla spoke to Ann Allan at Maggie’s cancer centre in Edinburgh as she celebrated the 25th anniversary of the charity, which supports patients and their families.
Mrs Allan told the duchess she had come to the centre “for a shoulder to cry on” and was making a return visit 19 years after she last walked through its doors when she was a breast cancer patient.
The centre, located in the grounds of Western General Hospital, was the charity’s first.
Mrs Allan was visiting the centre while her husband, John, received treatment for bowel cancer at the hospital
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Camilla, who became president of Maggie’s after an informal visit to the Edinburgh centre 13 years ago, told Mrs Allan her partner was in “good hands”.
In a speech, the duchess said: “I just want to say thank you for everyone who contributes to Maggie’s. This is where I started and I’ve now done the full circle 13 years later and come back here.
“It’s where I started, it’s where I got the vibes of this organisation. I think anybody here will tell you the minute you walk in that door you feel better and that’s what living with cancer is all about. So I am extremely proud to be attached to this wonderful organisation.”
Also at the celebration was Dame Laura Lee, Maggie Keswick Jencks’ cancer nurse who went on to help found the organisation after her death, and the charity’s honorary patron, the broadcaster Kirsty Wark.
Centre users Sarah Murray and Lisa Stephenson spoke to the duchess about their £1.2 million fundraising project for an extension to the centre, as well as their own diagnoses.
“You can see that she’s very, very passionate about Maggie’s, about the difference it makes, people on that cancer journey, her warmth and her understanding of the role Maggie’s plays was very evident,” said Mrs Stephenson.