Ever since Prince Charles recovered from his own diagnosis of COVID-19 last March, he’s been deeply involved in following the NHS’s progress in combating the pandemic. For his first event back last April, he opened a new field hospital by video call and, once lockdown was lifted over the summer, visited clinics in Scotland, Wales, and Cornwall. On Wednesday, he and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, made their first public outing after receiving their own vaccines, a visit to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham.
In a speech dedicating a new plaque honoring frontline workers, he praised the NHS for its resilience during the pandemic. “The Secretary of State mentioned just now that the National Health Service was 72 years old, which happens to coincide exactly with the same age as I am,” he said, according to Town and Country. “And the great thing is that the NHS has done a great deal better I can assure you than I have, as I am gradually falling apart.”
Charles thanked the staff at the hospital which has treated the highest number of coronavirus patients in the country, according to the BBC. “There are masses of people who are unsung and unseen heroes and heroines but we owe them such an enormous debt of gratitude and so many of you particularly,” he said. “We are very lucky indeed to have you.”
Last week, Clarence House announced that Charles and Camilla had each gotten the jab, and on Wednesday, he talked about his experience as he spoke to patients at the hospital’s bustling vaccination clinic, according to the Daily Mail. To one woman, he said, “Don’t worry, it doesn’t take too long.”
Camilla also struck a reassuring tone. “It’s a good thing. It doesn’t hurt,” she said. “I was waiting for it to be done and they said, ‘It has been done.’ It was painless. It was brilliant. It’s very good when it���s over, as you feel more secure. Panic over.”
Later on, she elaborated on her experience for the clinic’s staff. “I leapt for joy,” she said. “I didn’t feel anything. I’m eternally grateful for everything.”
On Wednesday morning, Buckingham Palace announced that Prince Philip had been taken to King Edward VII’s Hospital in London, after “feeling unwell.” The Clarence House Instagram posted an image of Philip, Charles and Queen Elizabeth feeding ducks at a wetlands reserve in 1961.
The Telegraph later reported that the visit was “purely precautionary” and the prince was “in good spirits,” according to royal aides. “The phrase that was used by his doctors was ‘an abundance of caution,’” an insider told the newspaper. “Obviously, you can never be too careful when patients are the Duke’s age.”
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