Charles reveals he lost sense of taste and smell when he got coronavirus

The Prince of Wales has revealed he lost his sense of taste and smell when he caught coronavirus – which has yet to fully return – as he carried out his first royal engagement with the public since lockdown began.

Charles spoke of his personal experience with Covid-19 as he met frontline NHS staff and key workers in person with the Duchess of Cornwall, and they praised their efforts as "Britain at its best".

Camilla talked about a recent family reunion, seeing her grandchildren for the first time since lockdown, saying: "First time last weekend. Not hug them, but see them – a great treat."

The couple chatted to nurses, cleaners, consultants and care workers from a number of NHS trusts at Gloucestershire Royal Hospital in the open air, with everyone respecting social distancing measures by standing two metres apart.

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Charles and Camilla meet Gloucestershire Royal Hospital staff
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Charles and Camilla meet Gloucestershire Royal Hospital staff
The Prince of Wales remains socially distanced as he a performs a namaste to Professor Mark Pietroni as he arrives with the Duchess of Cornwall at Gloucestershire Royal Hospital to meet front line key workers who who have responded to the COVID-19 pandemic during a visit to Gloucestershire Royal Hospital.
The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall wave goodbye to front line key workers who who have responded to the COVID-19 pandemic during a visit to Gloucestershire Royal Hospital.
The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall meet front line key workers who who have responded to the COVID-19 pandemic during a visit to Gloucestershire Royal Hospital.
People wear masks as they watch the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall meet other front line key workers who who have responded to the COVID-19 pandemic during a visit to Gloucestershire Royal Hospital.
The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall meet front line key workers who who have responded to the COVID-19 pandemic during a visit to Gloucestershire Royal Hospital.
The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall meet front line key workers who who have responded to the COVID-19 pandemic during a visit to Gloucestershire Royal Hospital.
The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall arrive at Gloucestershire Royal Hospital as they meet front line key workers who who have responded to the COVID-19 pandemic during a visit to Gloucestershire Royal Hospital.
The Duchess of Cornwall is shown a knitted tribute to NHS staff by Chief Executive Officer, Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation, Deborah Lee, as she meets front line key workers who who have responded to the COVID-19 pandemic during a visit to Gloucestershire Royal Hospital.
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Asked if the country's appreciation of the NHS has changed for good, the duchess replied: "I think it has, you can tell by all the people coming out every week to clap – they've done the most remarkable things.

"The way they've looked after people, the way they've sort of kept control of the whole thing, you know, it's a question of not panicking and getting on with it and I think they are Britain at its best."

The Gloucestershire Royal in Gloucester is effectively Charles's local hospital as it is close to his country home of Highgrove, but he chose to spend much of the lockdown at his Scottish retreat of Birkhall.

The prince spoke to Jeff Mills, 47, a healthcare assistant from Cheltenham General Hospital, about contracting Covid-19 in March, after developing mild symptoms.

Mr Mills said: "He did speak of his personal experience, so first-hand experience for him.

"He also spoke about his loss of smell and taste and, sort of, still felt he's still got it now."

With lockdown restrictions being eased, the royal family have chosen this week to take a step towards a return to normality – with a series of face-to-face public engagements.

When Charles first arrived, he received many he met with a namaste greeting – clasping his hands together – instead of a handshake, and the waiting NHS staff and others were carefully spaced out, standing on yellow dots to maintain the two-metre distance.

In a lighter moment, the heir to the throne quipped about the arrangement: "I was just thinking we should tell them to fall out, shortly," while his wife joked: "I feel they're going to take a salute or something."

After meeting the staff, Charles said: "It's been a marvellous opportunity just to have a chance of seeing people I know have been doing so much – literally on the front line.

"And having to endure an awful lot of stress and strain in their wonderful way – how they do it I don't know. But delivering everything in the most effective way.

"And the great thing they were all saying is it's brought different departments together in a way that hadn't always happened before, so there's been a great deal of marvellous co-operation I think."

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