Prince Charles and Duchess Camilla attend first in-person engagement of 2021

The royal couple visited Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham

Prince Charles, Prince of Wales and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall visit The Queen Elizabeth Hospital on February 17, 2021 in Birmingham, England
(Image credit: Photo by Molly Darlington - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

Prince Charles and Duchess Camilla have attended their first in-person royal visit of 2021 at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham. 

Prince Charles and Duchess Camilla left their residence to attend their first royal visit in person in 2021. The couple, who have recently received their first Covid-19 vaccinations, traveled to Birmingham. There, they visited the Queen Elizabeth Hospital to give thanks to volunteers taking part in clinical trials for Covid-19 vaccinations. 

In a photograph posted by the official Clarence House Instagram account yesterday, Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall can be seen meeting people at the hospital in a socially distanced manner, all wearing masks. 

The caption read: “The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall today visited the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham to thank volunteers undertaking clinical trials for the COVID-19 vaccinations."

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“The University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust is widely recognised for its clinical research facility and has recruited around 12,000 volunteers to take part in the COVID-19 clinical trials."

“They have just started the first UK study of the AstraZeneca and Pfizer combination vaccine.”

The caption then went on to reveal that Prince Charles and Duchess Camilla “also met dedicated healthcare staff who were receiving their COVID-19 vaccinations.”

Prince Charles, Prince of Wales speaks next to Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, and Health Secretary Matt Hancock during a visit The Queen Elizabeth Hospital on February 17, 2021 in Birmingham, England

(Image credit: Photo by Molly Darlington - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

As revealed in the caption, the Prince said during the visit: “I know, over the last year it must be absolutely exhausting for so many of you, but I know the NHS is such an enormous team and there are masses of people who are unsung and unseen heroes and heroines."

“We owe them all such an enormous debt of gratitude and for so many of you particularly, the pressures are huge.”

Throughout the pandemic, the couple, along with many other members of the Royal Family, have also been undertaking important royal engagements via video call.

Last year, Prince Charles was diagnosed with the virus and has previously opened up about his Covid-19 battle in a video interview with Sky News. The Prince of Wales said: “I was lucky in my case and got away with it quite lightly."

"I've had it, and I can so understand what other people have gone through," he explained. "I feel particularly for those, for instance, who have lost their loved ones but were unable to be with them at the time,” he continued.

"That’s, to me, the most ghastly thing. But in order to prevent this happening to so many more people, this is why I'm so determined to find a way out of this."