The Princess Royal carried out her first public engagement since her father’s funeral, visiting three NHS hospitals in Gloucestershire.
Princess Anne’s visits were to thank the staff of each hospital for their hard work over the past year and the many challenges of the coronavirus pandemic. She first visited the Gloucestershire Royal Hospital, where she opened a commemorative garden that had been designed by Danny Clarke.
“It’s incredibly important for families and friends of loved ones lost to COVID-19 to have a space where they can visit and reflect,” said Dr Hina Iftikhar, Chief Registrar at the Gloucestershire Royal Hospital.
“The pandemic has taken its toll on so many of us and in such different ways. Many of my colleagues both here in our hospitals and in the community have had the most challenging of times. I’m grateful that The Princess Royal recognised this today.”
The Ward Manager for Respiratory High Care at the same hospital, Alexandra Hayes, added, “Her Royal Highness was genuinely interested in our work and was very grateful for all that we’ve done over the last year.
“While these have been difficult times for so many, today’s visit was uplifting and it’s something I’ll remember for a long time.”
Princess Anne also visited the Wotton Lawn Hospital and Cheltenham General Hospital, where another garden of wire dandelions was placed in memory of those lost to the coronavirus pandemic. The Commemorative Dandelion Appeal was launched by the Cheltenham and Gloucestershire Hospitals Charity.
The Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust tweeted after Princess Anne’s visit: “Our staff…were thrilled to meet The Princess Royal today who visited to personally thank colleagues for their hard work and to officially open our garden commemorating loved ones lost to COVID-19.”
They tagged the Royal Family account and added, “we really do appreciate your support in these times.”
The Trust’s charitable arm tweeted: “We were so honoured that The Princess Royal officially opened our Commemorative Garden today. Thank you to all of our supporters for helping to make this incredible new space for staff, patients and visitors a reality. This would not be possible without you.”