Camilla Visits Hampshire

The Duchess of Cornwall has bought two toy boxes as Christmas presents for her grandchildren while visiting a homelessness charity.

During a day of visits in Hampshire, she toured the Emmaus centre in Winchester before visiting the Medical Research Council Lifecourse Epidemiology Unit at Southampton General Hospital and attending the fifth anniversary celebrations of the cruise liner Queen Victoria at Southampton where a new portrait of her was unveiled.

In her role as patron of the Emmaus homelessness charity, Camilla toured its centre in Winchester, which provides living accommodation and a furniture restoration area where the residents can learn new skills.

From the centre's shop Camilla bought two toy boxes, one pink and one blue, which she said were for her grandchildren.

During the visit she met Terry Waite, who is the UK Emmaus chairman, and was also presented with a tennis table bat in the recreation area.

Camilla said: ''I love coming to all the Emmauses, you go in and there's the most wonderful atmosphere, it really is very positive.''

Emmaus Communities enable people to move on from homelessness, providing work and a home in a supportive, family environment.

The duchess, in her role as the president of the National Osteoporosis Society (NOS) went on to visit doctors, nurses and patients in a dedicated centre at the Medical Research Council Lifecourse Epidemiology Unit at Southampton General Hospital.

Her mother, Rosalind Shand, died in 1994 at the age of 72 as a result of osteoporosis and her grandmother died from the same condition eight years earlier.

Camilla has been president of the NOS since 2001 having previously been its patron since 1997.

The Medical Research Council Lifecourse Epidemiology Unit is part of the University of Southampton and conducts research into preventable causes of common chronic disorders such as osteoporosis, which leads to debilitating broken bones and affects one in two women and one in five men aged over 50 in the UK.

The official portrait of the Duchess, painted by Richard Stone, was unveiled as she visited the Queen Victoria, which was marking its fifth birthday at Southampton cruise liner terminal.

The painting, commissioned by Cunard, is a three-quarter length portrait showing Camilla seated and wearing a cream suit. It is to be displayed in the grand lobby of the Queen Victoria which the Duchess named in December 2007.

Mr Stone, who has painted most of the Royal Family over the past three decades, said:

''It is a great privilege to be able to step, for a brief time, into the lives of others.

''Everyone has the most remarkable story to tell.

''It's an honour to be in a situation where the sitter trusts me enough to allow me, through their portrait, to tell some of that story.''

Peter Shanks, Cunard's president and managing director, said:

''Queen Victoria is very much the Duchess's ship and we are honoured that she continues to display such an interest in the ship and her crew.

''Tradition is very important to us at Cunard and I am delighted we are able to continue this fine tradition of specially-commissioned royal portraits for our ships.''

During the visit, which is Camilla's third to the ship, she met 12 young adults who are taking part in Cunard's joint programme with the Prince's Trust to gain experience in the customer service industry.

Camilla also visited the ship's gingerbread village display.

And, along with Queen Victoria's madrina - shipyard sponsor - Maureen Ryan, Camilla cut a cake in the shape of the vessel to mark the liner's anniversary.

She also met some of the ship's distinguished guests, including former and present newsreaders Michael Buerk and Nicholas Owen and actor Colin Salmon.