Tom Swarbrick 10pm - 1am
Prince Charles thanks Underground staff for keeping London moving
2 July 2020, 15:25
The Prince of Wales has thanked London Underground staff for working during the coronavirus pandemic, telling them: “I don’t know how you do it”.
Charles, 71, met contract cleaners and station staff outside Ashfield House, TFL’s main training centre near West Kensington station in west London.
The special visit on Thursday was hosted by London Mayor Sadiq Khan, chairman of TfL, who said the heir to the throne had personally requested to meet staff.
The Tube network has been running throughout Covid-19 and maintained 50% of services at the height of the pandemic for key workers when a third of staff were ill, shielding or in self-isolation.
Many of the drivers, station staff and other workers have since returned to the front line and now more than 90% of the timetable is operational.
But 44 London transport workers have died due to coronavirus during the crisis.
After chatting to a group of staff, who were socially distanced, the prince told them: “Thanks for doing so much, thanks for all your hard work, I don’t know how you do it.”
In a light-hearted moment, Mr Khan revealed Charles had said he was gifted face masks with a tartan design, “He’s been given three,” he said.
“He’s looking forward to wearing them out and about and stuff – it’s not his own tartan by the way.”
The mayor said about Charles: “He reached out to us and said ‘I want to say thank you, because I know you’ve kept the city going’.”
He added: “The great thing, he’s met everyone from cleaners who are crucial to keeping public transport clean, the deep cleaning, to the commissioner – so you can see the response in their faces.
“There’s a ripple effect with him coming down, they’ll speak to their colleagues who will speak to their colleagues, but their families will know that His Royal Highness came to say thank you.
“But for the public transport running during the lockdown, NHS workers, care workers, those who work in shops wouldn’t be able to get to work to serve our city.”
The royal family have been slowly returning to public duties as lockdown restrictions have been relaxed.
Charles attended a ceremony welcoming France's President Macron to the UK and met health and care workers at a hospital in Gloucester last month.
On Wednesday, Charles was surrounded by piglets as he toured celebrity farmer Adam Henson’s Cotsworld Farm Park attraction in Guiting Power, near Cheltenham.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have visited local businesses close to their Norfolk home.
The Royals have continued virtual engagements during the pandemic, with Prince Harry paying tribute to “incredible” Diana Award winners at a ceremony on Wednesday and apologising for “endemic racism”.