Today, the Spanish King Felipe and Queen Letizia joined the world royals in Poland to attend the ceremony commemorating the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau at the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration and extermination camp in Brzezinka.
The camp was created in 1940 near Oswiecim, in occupied Poland. Initially, it’s mission was the imprisonment of the Polish detained during the mass raids, but ended up becoming the largest extermination centre for European Jews once deportations began in 1942.
About 1.4 million people who were deported to Auschwitz, about 1.1 million, of which about one million were Jews, are believed to have died there, according to data from the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum.
Some 900,000 Jews were killed in the gas chambers immediately after arriving at the camp and their bodies burned in the crematorium. In addition, about half of the 400,000 prisoners registered in the camp perished in it. Separated by ethnic groups, the figure included about 100,000 Jews, 70,000 Polish, more than 20,000 Gypsies and about 14,000 Soviet prisoners of war.
The field was composed of two parts. The so-called Auschwitz I camp, where there were about 15,000 prisoners, and the Birkenau camp, located about three kilometres from Oswiecim, where most of the victims were killed. Birkenau had more than 90,000 prisoners in 1944.
Several days before their release, the Germans forced almost 60,000 exhausted prisoners to march west to move them to other concentration camps. It is estimated that between 9,000 and 15,000 of them perished in that march of death. When the Soviet Red Army released the camp on January 27, 1945, only 7,000 prisoners were found.
During the visit, Felipe and Letizia were given a brief tour of the camp and were told the stories of horror behind the camp.
The Royal couple laid a wreath at the ‘Wall of the Death’ before joining the other Royals, Government Heads and dignitaries for the commemoration event.
At the end of Ecumenical Prayers at the conclusion of the service, King Felipe and Queen Letizia joined survivors by the railway lines that had been constructed over the Nazi concentration camp’s main gate and was used to brought the prisoners to the camp. They listened to a series of moving speeches, and then entered the camp to leave memorial candles to honour the millions of people who lost their lives there.
June brought us one of the historic moments. After completing 6 engagements in Spain, Letizia joined her husband King Felipe for the Annual Order of Garter Service with the British Queen Elizabeth, where we got our iconic picture – Queen Letizia with Duchess of Cambridge in one frame. Both ladies chose elegant monochrome for the day.
In the last month before the annual summer break, Letizia was out and about almost every day fulfilling the role of dutiful Spanish Queen while keeping the attention to the wardrobe minimum. Her style highlight was another budget-friendly Zara Tweed Dress with Gem Buttons debuted at Palace audience.
I was not expecting anything big from Queen Letizia during the summer break in August – but the darling Queen of Spain still gave us stunning outfit inspirations during her off.
This week, ahead of the winter breakit was reported that we can expect some news from the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge over the holidays period. Well, here we have the first of the series. In November we found Duchess of Cambridge spend two days at the Kingston Hospital Maternity Unit in London learning more about Nurses and Midwives. The time spent was in relation to her beloved project ‘Early Years Intervention’ that we are expecting to have some big outcome this year.
January 1, 2020, marks the beginning of the Year of the Nurse and the Midwifeand a major global effort to highlight an acute shortage of these crucial health workers. World Health Organization (WHO) selected 2020 to celebrate the work of nurses and midwives because it is the bicentenary of the birth of the founder of modern nursing, Florence Nightingale. The world needs 9 million more nurses and midwives if it is to achieve universal health coverage by 2030.
On Friday, Palace released some photographs from the visit.
Next year the world turns its attention to the International Year of the Nurse and Midwife, and recognising and celebrating the humbling work that you and your colleagues do day in, day out, to improve the lives of others. You are there for women at their most vulnerable; you witness strength, pain and unimaginable joy on a daily basis.
Your work often goes on behind the scenes, and away from the spotlight. Recently however, I was privileged enough to witness a small section of it first hand, spending several days at Kingston Hospital’s Maternity Unit. Although this was not my first encounter with the care and kindness provided by midwives across the country, it gave me a broader insight into the true impact you have on everybody you help.
Over the last few years, I’ve dedicated a significant amount of my work to the Early Years – the pivotal period of development between pregnancy and the age of 5 where children build crucial .foundations for life. Your role in supporting this critical phase of development extends far beyond the complicated task of delivering a baby successfully.
The help and reassurance you provide for parents to be and parents of newborns is just as crucial. It goes a long way in building parents’ confidence from the start, with lifelong impact on the future happiness of their children.
The Early Years are more critical for future health and happiness than any other moment in our lifetime. Even before we are born, our mother’s emotional and physical health directly influences our development and by the age of 5 a child’s brain has developed to 90 per cent of its adult size. Your role at the very start of this period is therefore of fundamental importance.
During my time at Kingston, I accompanied community midwives on their daily rounds and was welcomed into people’s homes. I was truly touched by the trust that people placed in me, sharing their experiences and voicing their fears openly. I also spent time in hospital clinics and on post-natal wards. No matter the setting, I was continually struck by the compassion that those of you I spent time with showed, and the incredible work ethic you demonstrated on behalf of your entire profession – not only performing your rounds but working tirelessly through the night to support people that were at their most vulnerable.
The founder of modern nursing, Florence Nightingale – whose 200th anniversary we celebrate next year, once said: “I attribute my success to this: I never have or took an excuse” and it is that mantra that I have seen time and time again in all of my encounters with you. You don’t ask for praise or for recognition but instead, unwaveringly continue your amazing work bringing new life into our world. You continue to demonstrate that despite your technical mastery and the advancement of modern medicine, it is the human to human relationships and simple acts of kindness that sometimes mean the most.
So as we look ahead to next year, I want to thank you for all that you do. It has been a real privilege learning from you so far, and I look forward to meeting and learning from even more of you in the coming years and decades.
Thanking Duchess for her letter WHO tweeted, “We are delighted that Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cambridge has recognized the value and importance of this work, sending a letter of appreciation to all midwives”.
The Queen and Princess Royal also have been a long champion of Nurses and Midwives. The Queen is the patron of the Royal College of Nursing while Anne supports The Royal College of Midwives.