The Prince of Wales said Australians are made of “tough stuff” as he recorded a message of support for people facing a resurgence of coronavirus in Victoria.
Charles – a future king of the Commonwealth country – said the second wave would have “heartbreaking consequences” for so many, but that the state would emerge stronger than ever.
“I just wanted to say, on behalf of my wife and myself, that you are so much in our special thoughts at what I can well imagine is a tremendously testing and frustrating time, and that we care deeply for what you are having to go through,” he said.
Melbourne, the state’s capital, has been in lockdown for more than a month, with strict measures now in place, including a night-time curfew.
Victoria still has more than 7,000 active Covid-19 cases and remains Australia’s worst concern.
Charles spoke of his own personal affection for the state after spending two terms deep in the Australian outback – 100 miles from Melbourne – when he was 17 and on an exchange with a Geelong school.
“I’ve always felt a special fondness for Victoria, having spent six very happy months there at school 54 years ago and having had a chance to explore various parts of the state,” he said.
“From being able to live among you, and then to have the good fortune to revisit your marvellous state on many occasions, I know that Victorians, like all Australians, are tenacious, and resilient, or indeed, as you might say in Australia, made of tough stuff.”
He praised their “seemingly unceasing capacity for good humour in the face of great hardship” but said “this capacity has been solely tested this year”.
Describing it as a tremendously difficult time for Australia after the bushfires and then the Covid-19 outbreak, the prince added: “I can only imagine just how incredibly hard it must be for you all that, having had such early success in combating the virus, you now find yourselves in the midst of this second wave with all its heartbreaking consequences for so many people’s lives, livelihoods and businesses.
“Having experienced this dreadful coronavirus myself, my heart goes out to all those currently battling the disease, those caring for them either at home or in your first-class healthcare system, and those who have so tragically lost their loved ones.”
Charles, 71, recovered after suffering a mild form of the virus in March and has described how he lost his sense of taste and smell.
He added in the video message: “All I can say, however inadequate this may seem under such unprecedented circumstances, is that these difficult, often soul-destroying days will surely pass.
“And we have no doubt that Victoria will emerge stronger than ever.”