Duchess Camilla was surprised that people need food banks in wealthy areas

Royal visit to Sussex

We’ve talked a lot about how the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are copycats who are blatantly attempting to steal everything Meghan and Harry do. But we should also point out that Meghan and Harry seem to have inspired some of the other royals. The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall have been doing some inspired-by-Sussex stuff too. Like, you know how Meghan is very focused on food, hunger, food insecurity, cooking, etc? Well, suddenly the other royals care about that. This has not been the case historically. The other royals do not make regular visits at food banks. “Food insecurity” and “hunger” have never been on their list of signature issues. And yet, in recent months, Will & Kate have done two appearances/events around food banks. Then Camilla did a stop by a food bank this week. And she expressed surprise that people would need access to a food bank in such a wealthy area:

The Duchess of Cornwall expressed her surprise that an affluent town needed a food bank service while visiting a church in Lewes, East Sussex, today, just miles away from her £2.3million childhood home. Camilla, 73, who is back in the UK after a whirlwind trip to Greece last week, visited Lewes Open Door charity and Fitzjohn’s Food Bank at Christ’s Church in Lewes.

While greeting volunteers, Camilla admitted that she was ‘surprised’ that the town needed a food bank service after spending her own childhood living just six miles away in the village of Plumpton. While visiting the food bank, Camilla expressed her surprise at the town needing a food bank, after growing up in a nearby seven-bedroom Georgian-style estate called The Laines, which is estimated to cost £2.3million.

‘Goodness, I’m very surprised, having lived here all my young life,’ she said. ‘I thought Lewes sounded an unusual place for a food bank, but it just goes to show.’

The Duchess also thanked the two charities based in the church for the ‘brilliant job’ they were doing during the Covid-19 pandemic and said it was a ‘treat’ for her to return to Sussex. Neil Fisher, the church secretary, gave the Duchess a church leaflet as a memento and told her that the work undertaken by the volunteers was ‘so necessary, especially in these times and even in an apparently prosperous town such as Lewes’.

The Duchess thanked the food bank volunteers for providing vital help to the community while meeting Tracy Cheeseman, who volunteers for the food bank but has also used the service herself on and off for several years. Ms Cheeseman, one of the Lewes Mayor’s Covid Heroes, told Camilla which ingredients go into the bags each week, adding that for Easter, some extra vouchers were being added, which the Duchess said was ‘wonderful, a lovely idea’.

[From The Daily Mail]

I mean… I don’t think Camilla meant any harm, really, but it did come across as tone-deaf, and like she was unprepared? Did she not realize she was stopping by a food bank? Does she know what food banks are? Did she think it was just going to be a posh secondary market where one could buy some discount chardonnay? “All of this food, and you just hand it out to the poors? Gosh, how odd.” And good for the church secretary for giving Camilla a pamphlet on their work. Maybe next time she’ll read her briefing papers.

Here are some pics of her stop on Tuesday. Um, hardly any photo agencies sent photographers for this.

Embed from Getty Images

Embed from Getty Images

Embed from Getty Images

Photos courtesy of WENN, Avalon Red, Getty.

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52 Responses to “Duchess Camilla was surprised that people need food banks in wealthy areas”

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  1. Watson says:

    Ugh. This is such a rich persons response. No words.

    Edited to add her response could only have been improved by: “let them eat cake!!!” Lol!

    • Tom says:

      A big part of me has this same response to every story about the Royals. I mean, why would we expect 18th-century throwbacks who live in palaces to know about life in 2021?

    • pottymouth pup says:

      I will be perfectly honest with you, she’s not alone in her ignorance about this and that ignorance is not limited to people who are uber wealthy. I’ve had quite a few conversations with Republicans here in the US who will make even ruder comments about food banks & who utilizes them. They are shocked, and often tell me I’m lying, when I point out that many upper middle class people living in McMansions & driving high end vehicles have hit hard times and need to rely on government programs & food banks. I also point out that it’s quite possible their members of their family, neighbors and their friends are among those people but would never admit it to them because they’re so judgmental about people who need assisatnce

      • Dee says:

        I learned that the number one clients at food the food bank when I moved to San Diego were military! The younger enlisted members need food stamps to shop at the commissary for their groceries. That was so saddening to hear and see.

    • Marjorie K. Margel says:

      Absolutely! It is now so obvious that the Senior Royals do not do their “work”.How difficult is it to be interested in the world around you, and noticing it is be is changing? Is has changed greatly in the last year alone!
      Do any of them know this?

  2. Cecilia says:

    Absolute shambles

    • Ronaldinho says:

      She is actually reflecting the views of most people in their little goldfish bowls in those areas.
      The BRF are utterly tone deaf.
      Bizarrely this may have helped those in need have visibility. The UK is very much a place of have nots at the moment especially as they have changed the way in which people claim unemployment or disability benefits. The impact on those who are in real need is largely unseen

      • AlpineWitch says:

        I totally agree. I have an acquaintance who lives in Lewes, and she’s upper class. She would be surprised to hear about food banks as well!

  3. Lauren says:

    Do their aides even brief them at this point? Tone deaf and ignorant.

    • Valerie says:

      I think that’s part of why they resented Megan so much…she religiously did her homework, briefing or not.

  4. Lemons says:

    She tried, but that comment landed flat for me. I understand that they are there to bring visibility to issues, but at least come educated enough to make a nuanced remark instead of “just goes to show.”

    It starts to look more and more like…”Look at what the poors are up to!” And I don’t think people are still going to be okay with this energy moving forward.

    • Spanky says:

      I live in the US but it is my understanding that so many people are out of work in the UK due to Covid, that food banks have been busier than usual. She doesn’t know this? Don’t know if it’s true, but I also read months ago that UNICEF is actually giving food to hungry kids in the UK for the first time in decades.

      Appearing this out of touch with what the “peasants” are dealing with is yet more bad PR for the RF. It’s amateur hour over there.

      • SarahCS says:

        Food bank use has been growing for years u see the austerity programme that the tories have been driving after giving all the money to the banks. Covid only made it even worse.

  5. damejudi says:

    Not a good look-especially since her son, Tom, is a food writer/critic. Usually those folks couple their passion with compassion for people living in hunger/food deserts.

  6. Nev says:

    Stop this.

  7. Jane says:

    Why isn’t she in quarantine after returning from Greece?

    Also, I can’t really fault Camilla for wondering why a wealthy area has a foodbank because that’s part of the problem: wealthy people in British society, even middle-class people never mind the aristocracy, are so removed from the reality that many people live, and have no understanding of the difference that even a few pounds a week can make. So many cities and towns are segregated along class and income lines, with people not crossing between the two, which makes it easy for more affluent people to blame less affluent people for their life choices, if they even consider them at all. If Camilla making this observation can prompt a few more wealthy retirees to wonder the same thing about their leafy village, then good. Because foodbank numbers have skyrocketed under the Tory government, they’re everywhere being used by everyone.

    • BayTampaBay says:

      If any of the current working Royals could make some good come out of this visit it would be Camilla.

    • Betsy says:

      Yes, I think it was a clever comment in a way. We’re talking about it, aren’t we? And it doesn’t seem like it would get a lot of attention otherwise.

      Just from past work, I think Camilla reads the briefings. She was reflecting what her class’s awareness of the problem is.

      • mynameispearl says:

        I think there would be a hell of a lot of people who dont realise that many food bank users are actually from wealthy areas, or maybe the ‘working poor’, eg nurses who cant afford their mortgage and enough food for their family if they are on a single income. I think it’s good that this is pointed out, so many people dont realise just how many people need this service. I thank my lucky stars I dont.

      • Lorelei says:

        @Betsy that makes a lot more sense. I hope that’s the truth, and in that case, it was a clever move on her part.

        It’s just hard to put anything past these people when just last week, Charles said “tell all the different ethnic minorities I said hello” (paraphrasing, but what he said was not too far off).

  8. Lunasf17 says:

    I think she just meant that it goes to show that hunger can happen anywhere. I don’t know, I don’t think it was that bad. I feel like many places that didn’t have active food banks before the pandemic now need them and it can be surprising to find out how great the need is, even in affluent areas.

    • Original Jenns says:

      I agree. I didn’t take her comment the way the article did, I took it as her making a statement, that you really do never know what others are going through, even if you think you do. Like, not knowing those living in a wealthy area need the use of a food bank due to life circumstances. She’s surprised because she always assumed those in wealthy areas were doing fine, without looking inside. As many people probably are. She reads her briefs, she’s not William.

      I think it was meant to be a uniting message, but no one wants to hear from the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, so it falls flat even when I give her message the benefit of the doubt.

  9. Eve says:

    I believe Anne has gone to food banks before Meghan. I would hate to be compared to my family members all the time. Camilla has never needed to go to a food bank so i am not suprised she has no clue. She has led a very sheltered existence.

    • Jaded says:

      Sophie’s been doing food bank volunteering for ages so it can’t be that Camilla’s that effing unaware. Why wasn’t she properly briefed? Did she just pull a William and toss her notes in the garbage? It’s a food bank you dumb twat! Where people who don’t have food go to get food!!! Just because it’s in a twee little village doesn’t mean everyone there is rich! God this family… they just keep digging themselves into a deeper and wider hole.

    • Hannah Lee says:

      “Camilla has never needed to go to a food bank so i am not suprised she has no clue.”

      I’ve never had to go to a food bank either. But I can read the papers, pay attention to the world around me, and realize that there are many many other people less fortunate than I am that do.

      And I’m not someone with lots of leisure time, who is married to the future monarch of Britain, someone all these hungry people will be the “subjects” of.

      Oh, and I’m also not a member of a family that claims to have a monopoly on REAL public service, so there’s that, too.

      Camilla has ZERO excuse to be so tone deaf, in particular in the year 20 flippin’ 21 … after over a year of devastation from an pandemic where so many people lost their jobs, their livelihoods, there homes, their health, their lives.

      • Saucy&Sassy says:

        Hannah Lee, is this actually reported by the legitimate news in the UK? It just seems to me that the Tories determine what gets reported on, but I really don’t know. If the affects of the Tory decisions have made food insecurity a bigger issue–even before the pandemic–was that reported? From my very limited view of the media in the UK, I just can’t see that the negatives are highlighted. I would appreciate someone explaining what is reported.

  10. Desdemona says:

    Wow, they do live a fluffy life with no worries at all and also no idea of the real world whatsoever… Even upper middle-class and rich people can have money problems all of a sudden and lose everything and needing help straighten their lives all over again… Of course they don’t have such problems since they live off the money of others…

  11. sandy says:

    no wonder they were so jealous of meghan. she at least read her briefing papers beforehand and would be complemented for knowing the issues. and instead of them starting to read their briefings they just – drove her out.

  12. Amy Bee says:

    It just goes to show that, like the rest of the Royal Family, Camilla is out of touch.

  13. TheOriginalMia says:

    I understood what she was saying because I hear it from coworkers too. People are surprised to find out that middle class people might need help, like the poor. COVID has shifted the playing field. There is no financial security. Everyone can use the help. I see people from all areas of life lined at the food bank. There is no shame in seeking out help for your family.

    • AlpineWitch says:

      Before the pandemic (during the junior doctors’ strike) there were lots of articles online and in papers about how many NHS nurses needed food banks.

      So it has been an ongoing issue for a while.

  14. Sofia says:

    It’s a tone deaf reply that is typical of someone like Camilla – rich, white and upper class.

    Perhaps it would have sounded “better” if she had said “Hunger effects everybody which is why food banks everywhere are important” and that’s it. No need to mention the area.

  15. Liz version 700 says:

    This is so frustrating. I have tripled my food bank donations because Covid has caused people who formerly were donors to suddenly be clients of food banks. Millions lost their jobs. People are driving nice cars to food banks because they used to have jobs that paid for those cars. Meanwhile the folks already vulnerable are in dire straits. The bubble the Royals live in must be crazy.

    • SomeChick says:

      THANK YOU!!!

      as someone who has been very grateful for help from food banks, I can tell you that aside from being fed, I very much felt cared for. sometimes there would be donated fresh baked bread, to-go salads and even cut flowers that hadn’t been sold. and there were usually fresh veg, apples and potatoes – not just canned stuff. food banks are awesome. (they also keep unsaleable/surplus food out of the waste stream). helping out the food banks is a great concrete way to help people. many many thanks to you.

  16. Nina Simone says:

    Just ridiculous. Was she drunk?

    Also, I always take it for granted that she grew up aristocratic right? Or at least wealthy enough to grow up in a childhood home worth millions. But Meghan is the diva?!

    • elfie says:

      Hah, good point. Imagine the enraged shrieking if Meghan had said something as stupid as that.

  17. Lorelei says:

    I had that same reaction upon hearing there was a food bank in the majority-white, suburban town I grew up in. But it was when I was about NINE YEARS OLD. My mother explained how & why I was wrong and I’ve understood ever since.

    The fact that someone Camilla’s age would make such a comment is ridiculous, but they really do live in such a little bubble.

  18. elfie says:

    Tone-deaf is an understatement. This woman is utterly clueless and always has been. She’s completely out of touch with how regular people live and she simply does not care. Horrible woman.

  19. Hannah Lee says:

    “…. but it just goes to show”

    Wow! Just wow!

    What a blase response to people going hungry, struggling with food insecurity in her own backyard. Surprised she didn’t add “give all the poor and hungry people my regards when you see them”

    • Gail Hirst says:

      @Hannah Lee~ bark of laughter re your last sentence & just spewed coffee all over my screen & keyboard. Worth it!!

  20. Becks1 says:

    Many, many people dont realize the extent of food insecurity and hunger in the US, I am sure the same is true in the UK. So while her comment was certainly tone-deaf, I think probably many people would have the same thought in their heads. So if anything, this visit was good because it helps to show that yes, even in wealthy areas, people need food banks and extra help, especially now.

  21. Elvie says:

    This is hilarious to me because I live in Sussex and Lewes and Sussex in particular aren’t even wealthy areas … Lewes is just like a regular town? Camilla grew up on an estate and this is like the local town nearby. She sounds like Lady Mary Crawley from Downton Abbey and has never been to the town where all of her staff live.

  22. Mooshe1 says:

    Tone deaf is putting it mildly

  23. Faye G says:

    God, Camilla really is that simple-minded, isn’t she?

    ‘Goodness, I’m very surprised, having lived here all my young life,’ she said. ‘I thought Lewes sounded an unusual place for a food bank, but it just goes to show.’

    Goes to show what? How astoundingly unintelligent she and the entire Windsor clan are? Because that’s the impression I’m getting here. Either that or she got started on the white wine early that day.

  24. equality says:

    Okay, we have the value of her childhood home, now we need to know how many bathrooms it has.

  25. Catstan says:

    In Canada, people over 60 tend to use foodbanks a lot because their pensions (retirement) funds are really bad (thank you Canadian government), and they cannot always afford their medication, care and food. Many do not talk about it because older folks are so damn proud. I hope that the other royals start shedding more light on the importance of food banks and just how many people from many communities actually struggle to make ends meet.

    This was super tone deaf!

  26. Steph says:

    I guess I read that differently than you. I took it that she was surprised when she first heard of where it was, not when she arrived.

  27. Catherine says:

    It is true that many people are unaware how widespread food insecurity is. However, the Royal family have staff whose job it is to inform them about these issues. A basic briefing for this engagement would have been not only the specifics of that organization but also more general info about the broader issue. It has literally been all over the news about increase in demand on food banks. Marcus Rashford’s activism on this issue was one of the biggest stories last summer. I can’t imagine that her staff would not have laid out this info for her but maybe I’m expecting too much from royal family staff. I would probably be labeled difficult Duchess like Meghan for asking for this basic level of work. What makes me angry is that this was such a missed opportunity to highlight a critical issue. She could have made a point of emphasizing how Camilla had grown up during a time when food banks hadn’t been needed in that area and then given someone from the organization the opportunity to take about how food insecurity had grown over the years and particularly during the pandemic. That would have driven home the issue. This is why I have such an issue about how the royal do engagements. If they did their homework and came with a plan they could have so much impact. Instead the engagements are so performative, so surface level that it’s really just a photo op.

  28. Catherine says:

    It is true that many people are unaware how widespread food insecurity is. However, the Royal family have staff whose job it is to inform them about these issues. A basic briefing for this engagement would have been not only the specifics of that organization but also more general info about the broader issue. It has literally been all over the news about increase in demand on food banks. Marcus Rashford’s activism on this issue was one of the biggest stories last summer. I can’t imagine that her staff would not have laid out this info for her but maybe I’m expecting too much from royal family staff. I would probably be labeled difficult Duchess like Meghan for asking for this basic level of work. What makes me angry is that this was such a missed opportunity to highlight a critical issue. they could have made a point of emphasizing how Camilla had grown up during a time when food banks hadn’t been needed in that area and then given someone from the organization the opportunity to talk about how food insecurity had grown over the years and particularly during the pandemic. That would have driven home the issue. This is why I have such an issue about how the royal do engagements. If they did their homework and came with a plan they could have so much impact. Instead the engagements are so performative, so surface level that it’s really just a photo op.

  29. Yianna says:

    Sophie and Anne have been visiting food banks for years and years, and Camilla does a lot more confronting work with financially vulnerable and abused women so it’s a bit off to act like a trip to a food bank is outside her comfort zone.

    I’m a huge fan of Meghan but we don’t have to act like she was the first to do everything positive the other royals do.

  30. Sue Denim says:

    this comment is prob because of the photo of Camilla drinking, but I’m beginning to wonder if there’s a lot of alcoholism in the family, unmanaged, undiagnosed, and enabled because of their privileges. A doc on the Queen got me thinking that years ago, her day seemed to center on drinks, fancy ones but still lots of alcohol… Maybe that also explains what these people “do” or don’t do all day…