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The Duchess of Cornwall celebrates inspirational women at the annual Women of the Year lunch

16th October 2017

The Duchess meets Debbie Ford and Lauren Moore of the Greater Manchester Police at the Women of the Year Lunch

The Duchess meets Debbie Ford and Lauren Moore of the Greater Manchester Police at the Women of the Year Lunch

The Duchess of Cornwall attended the Women of the Year lunch in London today, an annual event that celebrates amazing women from across the UK. 

More than 400 women were chosen to attend the lunch in celebration of their achievements and contribution to society.

President of Women of the Year Sandi Toksvig presented the event, speaking of the "confidence gap" between genders and urging the audience to believe in themselves.

During the event, The Duchess presented the Barclays Women of the Year Award, which was given to members of the Manchester emergency and medical services following the terror attack earlier in the year.

During a speech, Her Royal Highness said: "In these turbulent times in which we live, I believe it is more important than ever for women of all ages and from all walks of life to unite.

"As the Victorian writer Matthew Arnold observed: 'If there ever comes a time when the women of the world come together purely and simply for the benefit of mankind, it will be a force such as the world has never known.'

"You all represent, not only yourselves and your own achievements, but also the millions of remarkable women who make a difference every day."

Award recipient Lea Vaughan, from North West Ambulance Service, was one of the paramedics deployed into the foyer area of the Manchester Arena after a bomb went off at an Ariana Grande concert in May.

Lea said: "You will deal with it somewhat but I think about it every single day.

"There's not one day that goes by since its happened where I've not sat for a moment and thought about all the decisions I've made and the catastrophic injuries that patients have, the life-changing injuries."

In the audience was Great British Bake Off presenter Prue Leith, as well as Strictly Come Dancing judge Shirley Ballas and Game Of Thrones star Natalie Dormer.

They were joined by women from all walks of life from MPs to teachers, journalists to sports stars.