Prince Charles and Camilla visit Exeter Cathedral without face masks

19 July 2021, 12:57 | Updated: 19 July 2021, 13:00

By Emma Soteriou

Prince Charles and Camilla visited Exeter Cathedral on Monday, going maskless for the first time since lockdown eased.

It comes as England enters step four of its roadmap out of lockdown, meaning there is no longer a legal requirement to wear face coverings or socially distance.

The couple did not shake hands with anyone to maintain caution.

As patron of the Exeter Cathedral Development Appeal, Prince Charles visited with the Duchess of Cornwall to learn more about the building's restoration.

The pair are also set to meet community groups on their trip, including the Devon Wildlife Trust, Exeter City Community Trust and the Met Office.

Their visit celebrates the city's designation as a Unesco City of Literature, as well as marking the launch of the Royal College of Nursing's Prince of Wales Nursing Cadet Scheme in England.

Read more: July 19 'Freedom Day': Everything you need to know - explained

Read more: 'Freedom Day': Most lockdown restrictions lift in England

Charles and Camilla greeted visitors outside the cathedral.
Charles and Camilla greeted visitors outside the cathedral. Picture: PA

Despite face coverings no longer being required by law, the government has said it "expects and recommends" that people wear them in crowded areas.

A study by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed that two-thirds of adults still intend to wear masks in shops after England's unlocking on 19 July.

The same percentage - 64 per cent - planned on wearing masks on public transport, while 60 per cent planned on avoiding crowded places completely.

Around nine in 10 adults also believed continuing to wear face coverings was important in helping slow down the spread of the virus, an ONS weekly lifestyle survey found.

Boris Johnson previously confirmed that it would be down to the public "to make their own informed decisions about how to manage the virus" from 'Freedom Day' on 19 July.