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British RoyalsPrince Charles and Camilla

Prince Charles and Camilla make their first public visit of 2021 while Prince Philip is being treated in hospital

The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall at Christmas
Andrew Parsons/ i-Images

On Wednesday, the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall thanked volunteers fighting the pandemic in their first public outing of 2021. During their visit, the Prince’s father, the Duke of Edinburgh, was under observation at King Edward VII Hospital in London for “precautionary measures.” A palace source said he had been feeling unwell for a few days, and it was not related to the coronavirus, and that he remains in “good spirits.”

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The royal couple visited Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham to meet healthcare workers and volunteers taking part in COVID-19 vaccination clinical trials. The Prince and Duchess recently received their first dose of the vaccine, a personal experience the Duchess shared with workers.

“I leapt for joy; I didn’t feel anything. I’m eternally grateful for everything.” The Duchess went on to add, “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.”

The Prince, who had the virus in 2020, spoke on the work the NHS, the National Health Service, has accomplished during the pandemic – making light that he is the same age as the NHS.

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“Ladies and Gentleman, 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. 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.”

“I know, over the last year, it must be absolutely exhausting for so many of you. But I know the NHS is such an enormous team and there are masses of people who are unsung and unseen heroes and heroines.”

The visit marks the first in-person engagement for any member of the British Royal Family in the new year.

About author

My name is Sydney Zatz and I am a University of Iowa graduate. I graduated with a degree in journalism and sports studies, and a minor in sport and recreation management. A highlight of my college career was getting the chance to study abroad in London and experiencing royal history firsthand. I have a passion for royals, royal history, and journalism, which led me to want to write for Royal Central.