‘You do get shaken up by the knowledge that such a practice still exists but we have to think beyond judging it’: Princess Mary describes the horror of female genital mutilation as she visits girls in Ethiopia
- Princess Mary spent three days in Ethiopia on an official United Nations humanitarian visit last week
- Danish Royal visited a refugee camp and spoke with locals in the Afar region – one of the hottest places on earth
- Mother of four listened intently as locals shared their experiences of child marriage and female genital mutilation
- Princess Mary also visited 91-year-old Australian doctor Catherine Hamlin at her hospital
Crown Princess Mary was left ‘shaken up’ after talking about the harsh reality of child marriage and female genital mutilation during an emotional visit to Ethiopia.
During the official three-day humanitarian visit last week, the Danish Royal visited a refugee camp in Gambella and spoke with locals in the Afar region – one of the hottest places on earth.
The mother of four was met by a group of ethnic Afar men performing a welcome dance when she arrived in the region in her United Nations four wheel drive.
Crown Princess Mary of Denmark spent three days in Ethiopia on an official United Nations humanitarian visit last week
The Danish Royal spoke to villagers in Afar about the reality of female genital mutilation and child marriages in the African nation
With the Danish Minister for Trade and Development Cooperation, Mogens Jensen, by her side Princess Mary spoke to brightly dressed villagers about the reality of female genital mutilation and child marriages in the African nation.
‘You do get shaken up by the knowledge that such a practice still exists but we have to think beyond judging it,’ Crown Princess Mary told TV2 Denmark.
In the Afar region, newborn babies or young girls have their clitoris cut off with a traditional knife before the opening is sewn closed so only a small hole remains.
Princess Mary listened intently as mothers shared stories of their daughters suffering infections and complications from the procedure, which the United Nations condemns as a violation of human rights.
She also visited a refugee camp known as ‘Tierkidi’ in Gambella.
The mother of four met and spoke with refugees during her visit to a camp known as ‘Tierkidi’ in Gambella
The 42-year-old future Queen looked at ease laughing with children living at the refugee camp as she battled the harsh heat
Princess Mary met with brightly dressed leaders and women in a local community near Afambo
The 42-year-old opted to help with the workload at the refugee camp as locals watched on
Local children were delighted with Princess Mary’s visit and flocked around her at every chance
Princess Mary listened intently as mothers shared stories of their daughters suffering omplications from the genital mutilation procedure
The 42-year-old future Queen took the time to visit 91-year-old Australian doctor Catherine Hamlin and the patients at Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital during her three day visit.
Dr Hamlin, who has lived in Africa for 55 years, embraced Australian-born Mary as she toured the hospital speaking with patients, staff and even visiting a baby girl born on the day she arrived.
The philanthropist has made it her mission to cure the women who suffer from obstetric fistula, a condition endured from obstructed labour.
‘Mary was taken on a tour of the main ward and she was able to meet staff and patients,’ Lucy Perry, CEO of Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia in Australia, said.
‘She didn’t stand back from them, she went right up to the patient’s bedside and was engaging with them.
‘It was a major thrill for staff to meet royalty from Europe.’
The Danish Minister for Trade and Development Cooperation, Mogens Jensen (right), took part in the visit with Princess Mary
Last week’s visit to Ethiopia was the second and longest trip for Princess Mary, who is a United Nations patron
Princess Mary toured the refugee camp with the help of local children, some of which were carry water cans
The future Queen of Denmark got her hands dirty helping to plant trees at the refugee camp
Princess Mary then joined Dr Hamlin for tea in her cottage on the hospital grounds.
‘Mary bought Catherine a set of Danish tea cups, which is so spot on for Catherine,’ Ms Perry said.
‘They mainly talked about eradicating obstetric fistula in Ethiopia once and for all.’
While obstetric fistula was eradicated in the western world in the 1920s, many developing countries still have hundreds of thousands of women who suffer from the injury, which is a hole in the bladder or bowel, that requires surgery.
Dr Hamlin established the Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital and the Hamlin College of Midwives in the 1950s, and then expanded the operations to five other hospitals.
Last week’s visit to Ethiopia was the second and longest trip for Princess Mary.
The future Queen took the time to visit 91-year-old Australian doctor Catherine Hamlin and the patients at Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital
Princess Mary and Trade Minister, Mogens Jensen, spent three days touring Ethiopia for the United Nations
Princess Mary looked delighted as she watched refugees perform inside a tin shed
There were smiles all-round when Princess Mary arrived and spent time with the children
The mother of four watched how things were done inside the refugee camp known as ‘Tierkidi’