Prince Charles and Camilla Praise Armed Forces for ‘Standing by’ Civilian Medics and Nurses amid COVID

Prince Charles and his wife Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall are praising the role of the armed forces in helping their civilian counterparts in the fight against COVID-19.

In a weekend of remembrances to roles past and present of servicemen and women, the royal couple paid tribute at a special televised concert.

In separate addresses, Charles, 71, said that “heroes and heroines are all around us” throughout this troubled year, while Camilla, 73 – speaking in her role as Commodore-in-Chief of the Royal Naval Medical Service — saluted the work of the nursing profession (military and civilian).

They made their specially-recorded addresses for the Royal British Legion’s annual Festival of Remembrance Service on Saturday evening. With the coronavirus pandemic, the occasion could not go ahead as normal, but the Legion and the BBC created a different kind of program, with pre-recorded performances and commemorations.

Last year, it was one of the last occasions that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle appeared alongside each other before they headed to Canada in November.

In his address, Charles said, “Over these extraordinarily difficult past few months, almost every aspect of our national life has been disrupted. Many of us have been separated from those we love and, together, we continue to endure anxiety and grief not previously experienced in peacetime.”

“Through all this, just as in wartime, the very best of our country has been on conspicuous display. We have reaffirmed our faith in each other and in our communities, and seen afresh that service to others underpins our society. We have been reminded that heroes and heroines are all around us and take many forms," he added.

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Looking back, this year has been one of several important military anniversaries — most notably the 75th anniversaries of VE Day, VJ Day and the end of the Second World War.

Charles added, “In this challenging year, we have perhaps come to realise that the freedoms for which they fought are more precious than we knew, and that the debt we owe them is even greater than we imagined.”

Their tributes came as Britain commemorates the sacrifices of the armed forces and remembers those who have died in war.

Speaking about it being the Year of the Nurse and Midwife, Camilla said, “Military nurses have worked alongside their NHS colleagues across the United Kingdom, using the skills learnt in conflict in the battle against COVID."

"You have been at the very epicentre of the nation’s response to the pandemic, providing a critical line of defence with compassion and dignity, and bringing hope and healing to so many," she added. "And you have done all this while being held at readiness for military deployment. For your service, we are deeply in your debt.

“And yet, as we know, behind each act of service lies a sacrifice. This can take many forms: missing your much-needed rest; enforced separation from your families; and even putting your own lives at risk. Today, as we reflect on sacrifice, we remember those nurses who have given their lives in the fight against COVID.”

She concluded, “In our military nurses, we see the same unswerving determination to give the best possible medical care whenever and wherever you are called. Your service and sacrifice will never be forgotten. To each and every one of you — thank you from the bottom of my heart.”

Charles also praised the astonishing community-based fundraising that has taken place during the pandemic, including most notably that of Captain Sir Thomas Moore.

“Throughout this pandemic, our armed forces have stood side by side with our medical professionals, key workers and emergency services in the fight against coronavirus, whilst maintaining the defence of our nation at home and abroad," Charles said. "In many cases, this has meant longer spells separated from their families, and extended periods of isolation in order to safeguard the integrity of vital elements of our Defence.

“To our armed forces today, and those who came before them; to those who made the ultimate sacrifice and never returned; and to our veterans on whose service our treasured liberty rests – we renew our heartfelt and eternal gratitude. Your example continues to inspire and guide us all.”

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