Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall today put duty first as they carried out their first public engagement of the year amid news of Prince Philip’s hospitalisation.
Prince Charles, 72, who along with the Duchess of Cornwall, 73, arrived at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, where they were greeted by Health Secretary Matt Hancock for the visit, toured the hospital to meet volunteers taking part in clinical trials for Covid-19 jabs.
The couple, who have both had their first doses of the jab, also met healthcare staff receiving their inoculations in their first joint official public event for two months.
They carried out the engagement despite news that Charles’ father Prince Philip, 99, has been admitted to the private King Edward VII Hospital in Marylebone, London, as a ‘precautionary measure’.
The Duke of Edinburgh’s illness is not Covid-related and it is understood the decision to admit him was taken with an ‘abundance’ of caution.
Prince Charles, 72, and the Duchess of Cornwall, 73, put safety first as they met with frontline workers at a Birmingham hospital during their first public engagement of the year today
The Duchess of Cornwall donned a blue and red tartan coat featuring a faux fur collar (Pictured, meeting front line health and care workers)
The Prince of Wales could be seen gesturing widely as he spoke with staff and frontline workers at the hospital earlier today
When the heir to the throne and his wife first arrived at the hospital they were greeted at a distance by the Health Secretary Matt Hancock and all wore face masks.
The Duchess put on a stylish display in a blue and red tartan coat featuring a faux fur collar, and completed her outfit with knee high black boots and a pair of leather gloves.
Meanwhile, the Prince of Wales, 71, who could be seen using his signature socially-distant greeting, wrapped up warm in a navy pinstripe suit.
The University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust is believed to have treated the largest number of Covid-positive patients of any NHS Trust in the UK – more than 12,500 – with 10,000 of these discharged.
During the visit to the hospital today, Prince Charles and Camilla could be seen speaking with Health Secretary Matt Hancock
Health Secretary Matt Hancock could be seen taking a selfie with the Vaccine Hub staff during a visit to the hospital
The Trust has also recruited a large number of patients for the trials – 12,000.
During the visit, the couple met with front line health and care workers administering and receiving the Covid-19 vaccine.
At the hospital, the royal couple were also joined by Health Secretary Matt Hancock.
The engagement marks the first in person appearance for the couple since December.
During the visit, the couple met with front line health and care workers administering and receiving the Covid-19 vaccine
Meanwhile it is also the first time the royals have appeared in public since they had the coronavirus vaccine earlier this month.
It comes days after the Prince of Wales expressed concern about the ‘variable uptake’ of the Covid-19 vaccine in some ethnic minority communities.
The royal described the 100,000 death toll in the UK, passed last month, as a ‘most sobering milestone’.
Clarence House confirmed last week that Charles and Camilla have had their first Covid-19 vaccinations.
Prince Charles spoke with Chief Pharmacist Inderjit Singh during a visit at Queen Elizabeth Hospital, amid the spread of the coronavirus disease
The couple were offered a tour of the hospital, where frontline workers were delivering vaccinations
As over 70-year-olds, the couple are in the fourth priority group for the rollout of the jabs.
The pair are likely to have received it from a royal doctor at home. The couple have been isolating at Highgrove House in Gloucestershire, although the Duchess is currently at her Wiltshire home, Ray Mill House.
It is likely, although not confirmed, that Charles and Camilla would have had the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine, as did the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh. A friend said Camilla seemed ‘very happy’.
Charles has previously confirmed his intention to get vaccinated, but stressed that neither he – nor his wife – would expectany preferential treatment and would wait for their call as part of the over-70s group.
The Prince of Wales adhered to government guidelines and spoke with frontline health workers at a distance
Last month it was revealed that the Queen, 94, and 99-year-old Prince Philip were among the first wave to receive their Covid-19 jabs.
A royal source said the vaccinations were administered by a household doctor at Windsor Castle.
Buckingham Palace had initially insisted the Queen would not let it be known if and when she had it as it was a ‘private medical matter’.
But it was explained that she had changed her mind in order to prevent ‘speculation’.
The Duchess of Cornwall joined Prince Charles to engage in a socially distant conversation with staff members at the hospital
The Government had been keen to make the news public as part of its drive to encourage people to be vaccinated.
Charles and his eldest son, Prince William, both contracted coronavirus during the first wave of the pandemic.
Charles was described as having mild symptoms and lost his sense of taste and smell for a period, while it was reported William was hit ‘pretty hard’ by the virus.