Princess Anne has opened a commemorative hospital garden in Gloucestershire in memory of people who have died of coronavirus.
The only daughter of the Queen and the late Duke of Edinburgh spoke to NHS staff about their work during the pandemic at Gloucestershire Royal Hospital, Wotton Lawn Hospital and Cheltenham General Hospital.
During the visit on Wednesday 21 April, which was her first public appearance since Prince Philip's death, the Princess Royal opened a tribute garden at Gloucestershire Royal.
The garden was designed by Danny Clarke, known as The Black Gardener, and commemorates victims of Covid-19 and marks the contributions of NHS staff and carers.
Princess Anne then saw hundreds of commemorative wire dandelions at Cheltenham General, each placed with a tribute to a loved-one who lost their life to coronavirus. She placed a dandelion of her own during the visit.
Gloucestershire Health and Care NHS Foundation Trust chair Ingrid Barker said she was "delighted to welcome the Princess Royal".
She said: "She was particularly interested in hearing about the work of our Covid testing team, our vaccinators, our Homeless Healthcare service, facilities and infection control colleagues and our hospital and community teams who have worked tirelessly to keep the people of Gloucestershire safe and well throughout what has been an unprecedented and incredibly challenging time.”
Alexandra Hayes, Respiratory High Care Ward Manager at at Gloucestershire Royal, said the Princess was genuinely interested in their work and grateful for all they had done.
"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," she said.
Dr Hina Iftikhar, Chief Registrar at Gloucestershire Royal, said: “It’s incredibly important for families and friends of loved-ones lost to Covid-19 have a space where they can visit and reflect.
"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 her Royal Highness recognised this today.”
Atique Miah, Muslim Chaplain at GRH and CGH spoke about how the pandemic had touched all parts of the community and nurse Nisma Mathew at CGH said the royal visit had helped:
"The garden is tranquil yet inspiring at the same time.
"I hope this resonates with those families who’ve been through so much and my colleagues who’ve gave so much in the last year."