Prince Charles on life in lockdown: 'You really want to give people a hug'

4 June 2020, 23:28

Prince Charles was discussing life during the coronavirus lockdown
Prince Charles was discussing life during the coronavirus lockdown. Picture: PA
Nick Hardinges

By Nick Hardinges

The Prince of Wales has admitted he misses hugging his friends and family while in lockdown and that he is "terribly sad" not to have seen his father Prince Philip.

Charles' candid confessions highlighted how even the heir to the throne is living through a challenging experience shared by many across the UK during the coronavirus pandemic.

Since staying with the Duchess of Cornwall at his Scottish home of Birkhall, the prince said he had not seen the Duke of Edinburgh, who is shielding with the Queen, "for a long time".

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However, he has been keeping in touch with the outside world through video calls.

The royal was speaking to Sky News' royal correspondent Rhiannon Mills via video call, during which he was asked about being separated from his loved ones.

He replied: "Well it's terribly sad, let alone ones friends. But fortunately, at least you can speak to them on telephones and occasionally do this sort of thing.

"But it isn't the same is it. You really want to give people a hug."

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The Prince of Wales released a photograph of himself hugging his grandson Prince Louis - the third and youngest child of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, William and Kate - to mark the young royal's second birthday on 23 April, a month into lockdown.

Charles also spoke about the challenge of not seeing the Duke of Edinburgh: "Well I haven't seen my father for a long time.

"He's going to be 99 next week, so yes, or my grandchildren or anything. I've been doing the Facetime, which is all very well but..."

The duke has been staying at Windsor Castle with the Queen for the majority of lockdown and is likely to be shielding with a small group of household staff.

He retired from royal public duties three years ago and is thought to have spent much of his time at the Queen's private estate of Sandringham in Norfolk.

When Sky's royal correspondent said hopefully a time is coming soon when people will be able to embrace loved ones, Charles said: "Well I do hope so because, don't worry, I do totally understand so many people's frustrations, difficulties, grief and anguish and I mean I'm just trying to do my best to find and help and encourage ways to enable people to go on doing that, but in a way that doesn't wreck everything at the same time around us."

During the interview, which was screened on Sky News on Thursday evening, the prince said contracting coronavirus made him more determined to "push and shout and prod" and he called for nature to return to the "centre of everything we do".

Charles also paid tribute to key workers and healthcare workers, while expressing sympathy with those who had lost family or friends during the pandemic.

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