As she and the Prince of Wales abandoned their face masks at a royal engagement today, the Duchess of Cornwall expressed her hope that the UK is over the worst of the Covid-19 epidemic.
During their three-day visit of Devon and Cornwall, the royals celebrated ‘Freedom Day’ with an impromptu walkabout in Exeter.
However, the duchess struck a cautionary note, advising one well-wisher that the country must exercise caution.
Lord Lieutenant Julian Tagg, who is a patron of the Exeter Cathedral Development Appeal, greeted the 72-year-old Prince and Duchess.
The royal couple met with 100 people, mostly from community and environmental organizations. Later, they strolled over to a crowd of locals who had gathered to greet them.
‘She said it’s lovely to be here and hopefully we’re over the worst of it and I said “Fingers crossed”. She also said we’ve just got to be careful,’ Sarah Clarke, an Exeter resident, said afterwards.
As the government advances to Step 4 of its pandemic recovery road map, the government lifted most legal coronavirus restrictions in England.
Face coverings are no longer required by law, and the two-metre social distance regulation is no longer enforced.
The government, on the other hand, has stated that it “expects and recommends” that they be worn in crowded locations such as public transportation.
According to the Daily Mail, a woman on vacation from Northern Ireland described her encounter with the Prince as “unexpected”
She described him as “very nice.”
“He asked if he was holding us all up and we were all waiting to go into the Cathedral. Such a thrill.”
Tuesday Masding, a senior healthcare assistant from the North Devon Healthcare NHS Trust, talked with the duchess as well.
‘We were just discussing the relaxation of rules and how she hasn’t quite got around to shaking hands with people, and I said that’s probably an appropriate reaction,’ the NHS worker said after speaking with Camilla.
The prince and duchess were also informed of ongoing substantial restorations to the historic place of worship, according to the Dean of Exeter, the Very Reverend Jonathan Greener.
He said: ‘It was a wonderful experience on such a lovely day – the first day of freedom – what more could you ask for?
‘The sun’s shining, we don’t have to wear masks, they were both on sunny form – it was marvellous, and they were so interested in what people were telling them.’
The visit also marked the city’s nomination as a Unesco City of Literature and the inauguration of the Prince of Wales Nursing Cadet Scheme in England by the Royal College of Nursing.
During the pandemic, the pair used a variety of face masks, but not during their visit to the cathedral.
Camilla stroked her mask as she told a student at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama in Cardiff earlier this month, “I can’t wait to get rid of these.”