Friday, 23 August 2013

Princess Mary gets very serious

In a few days' time, Crown Princess Mary of Denmark will travel to Morocco where she'll see projects set up to help women and children escape domestic violence and build new lives for themselves.  The princess also aims to highlight women's rights in the Middle East in general.  It's part of the work of The Mary Foundation - the princess' project which aims to tackle social isolation and help those on their own, in Denmark and overseas.

The image of Mary of Denmark which welcomes visitors to the website of The Mary Foundation which she set up in 2007
On the visit she will meet some of the women who have benefitted from international work to get away from abusive relationships and home lives and who are starting to make it on their own after the traumatic experience of physical and mental attack.  She'll also meet judges involved in helping women escape violence as legal processes become an increasingly important part of women's rights in the country.  In 2004, the king of Morocco brought in a new law, Moudawanaen, which gave women the right to get divorced as well as equal rights on child custody.  It also banned the marriage of girls under the age of 16.  Mary will hear more about this and visit several shelters for women and young girls.
Princess Mary on a visit earlier this year to Mozambique where she also saw projects linked to improving women's rights
(photo Forum Mulher)
The Morocco trip will follow hard on the heels of her visit to a Syrian refugee camp in Jordan to meet families forced to flee their homes by the ongoing conflict in their country.  Mary met women and children there for several hours and was about to speak to the press when a protest in the Zaatari camp started to escalate and she was evacuated.  The princess wanted to highlight the human suffering the conflict had brought - Zaatari is currently home to around 120,000 refugees, just a small fraction of those who have fled given the UN estimate this morning of around one million children now displaced from Syria.  The protest in the camp is thought to have started as anger built following the nerve gas attack in Syria.
Princess Mary of Denmark meets some of the children at the Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan - more than one million children have now been forced to flee their homes in Syria as the crisis there deepens
Mary's work to help those lonely, isolated and in desperation has been a large part of her public life since she became Crown Princess of Denmark in 2004.  Like Diana before her, she's faced questions over how useful trips like the one to Zaatari really are and like the Princess of Wales she's stuck to what she believes in.  And just like Diana, a face that people want to photograph in a place where no one might otherwise go helps to throw the spotlight on some of the toughest, hardest and most troubling issues of the day.  Fair play to the princess from Oz.

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