NHS staff are 'Britain at its best' say Charles and Camilla

It was the moment the royal lockdown officially came to an end; the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall arrival at Gloucester Royal Hospital on Tuesday morning - the first time they’ve carried out an engagement in person since the pandemic took hold in the UK.

The Prince spoke of how NHS staff have endured “stress and strain”.

And he explained that the hospital staff had spoken of how the pandemic had “brought different parts of the NHS together".

Charles and Camilla relocated from Scotland over the weekend and wanted their first visit to be one of thanks to NHS staff.

The engagement - despite the threat of showers - was held outside in a quiet corner of the hospital campus to avoid attracting crowds.

The staff - from nurses and doctors to paramedics and volunteers - were each standing on yellow markers in the grass in order to adhere to the strict two metre distancing rules.

There was no shaking off hands and staff moved forward in turn in order to speak to the couple and stay the correct distance apart.

They listened to the staff talk about the tough week of dealing with coronavirus - which Prince Charles himself contacted shortly after the lockdown was imposed.

They’ve been living at Birkhall on the Balmoral Estate since the national restrictions came into force, and the Gloucestershire Royal Hospital is close to the couple’s Highgrove home.

Camilla said: “They’ve done the most remarkable things”.

She added: “The way they’ve looked after people, they’ve kept control of the whole thing, a question of not panicking and getting in with it. They are Britain at its best”.

As she said it Camilla turned and pointed at the staff.

The Prince joked that the staff looked like they were lined up on military parade and needed to be told to “fall out”!

The royal couple were shown around by the NHS Trust’s Chief Executive Deborah Lee who said the Duchess has also spoken of her delight to be able to see her grandchildren in person again - even though she is unable to hug them yet.