The Duchess of Cornwall has told how she wishes her late mother could be with her to see the progress being made against osteoporosis.
Camilla, whose mother Rosalind died from the fragile bone disease in 1994, was marking the official launch of the newly-titled Royal Osteoporosis Society (ROS) at the Science Museum in London.
The duchess revealed that when her mother died from the condition, she was the same age as Camilla is now.
Camilla has supported the organisation, previously known as the National Osteoporosis Society, for more than 20 years, becoming its patron in 1997 and then its president in 2001 before she married into the royal family.
The Queen has given her seal of approval to the charity by permitting its new royal name.
Camilla said, after unveiling the updated logo: “It was 25 years ago that my mother died as a result of osteoporosis. In fact, she was exactly the same age as I am now.
“Then, it was never discussed, rarely diagnosed, and always attributed to old people.”
She recalled how she became involved with the “wonderful, tiny” charity to find out more about the disease.
“My family and I were completely devastated, but also, we didn’t understand how somebody could be in so much pain, and we were unable, and the doctors seemed unable, to do anything about it,” she said.
Paying tribute to the ROS, and new medicines, research and helplines developed over the years, she added: “It’s just incredible what’s happening and I just wish my mother was here today to see what could have been done.”
Camilla said she hoped a cure would be found and said she was educating her own grandchildren about the condition.
“I also think it’s very important to tell my children and my grandchildren that this disease can be prevented,” she said.
“When you are young… you’re immortal. You don’t think about dying, getting old and breaking bones.
“But I think if we can just tell them how important it is to eat the right things, to take exercise – these will go a long way to keeping their bones healthy.
“I think the message is getting through slowly but surely, and I dare say, I hope, there will be a way forward to find a cure for this devastating disease. I’m sure we’re not far off it.”
The duchess’s visit also marked the ROS’s launch of the world’s first Osteoporosis and Bone Research Academy, which will bring together leading clinicians and academics in the field to drive the research to find a cure for the crippling disease.
The ROS warned that more than two million people over 50 in the UK could have undiagnosed spinal fractures.
Claire Severgnini, the charity’s chief executive, said: “If one of your parents lost height as they got older, then it could be a sign of osteoporosis, which means you’ve got a greater chance of getting it as well.
“And that back pain you’ve complained about could actually be as a result of broken bones, especially if you’re over 50.
“The nation is simply shrinking, and it is no longer acceptable to think of it as just one of those things that happens as you get older.
“That’s why today we’ve announced we want to find a cure for osteoporosis and encourage everybody to start to look after their bones, no matter how old they are.”
Professor Juliet Compston, chairman of the academy, said its research would change the life of millions.
“Next year the Royal Osteoporosis Society will be the first bone charity in the world to build an osteoporosis research roadmap charting the route to a cure and giving hope to future generations,” she said.