Camilla praises volunteers as she serves lunch to pensioners

The Duchess of Cornwall has visited a community centre where she served lunch to a group of pensioners to help shine a light on the work of the Royal Voluntary Service.

Camilla cut up food for one elderly customer who is almost blind and was unaware her waitress was a member of the Royal Family.

The Duchess was visiting the Mill End Community Centre in Rickmansworth, Hertfordshire, on Thursday, in her role as patron of the Royal Voluntary Service (RVS), one of the largest volunteering organisations in Great Britain.

Camilla visits Royal Voluntary Service
The Duchess of Cornwall wore a face mask and visor as she helped serve lunch (Andrew Matthews/PA)

As Camilla placed a steaming plate of gammon, mash potatoes, carrots and peas in front of Kay Francis, 96, she was asked: “Aren’t you going to cut it up?”

Volunteers tried to step in, but the duchess said: “Of course I will. More than happy to help.”

“Sorry, I can’t see,” replied Kay, oblivious as to who was helping her.

“Not to worry, I don’t think I can see either,” Camilla responded.

Camilla visits Royal Voluntary Service
The Duchess of Cornwall, centre, during her visit to the community centre (Andrew Matthews/PA)

The duchess was at the Mill End lunch club which provides hot meals and company for elderly people in the area.

Before the coronavirus pandemic, it was open five days a week but can now only cater for a smaller number of people four days a week.

Doris Winfield, 86, who invited the duchess, said she was delighted to meet her in person at last, after secretly speaking together since spring by telephone and letter.

The mother-of-three said: “She’s just a lovely, lovely lady. She has taken time out to speak and write to me without anyone knowing about it.

Camilla visits Royal Voluntary Service
Camilla, left, met with 86-year-old Doris Winfield (Andrew Matthews/PA)

“Lockdown was a very lonely time for people like me, I really missed coming here. I used to come every day and now I only come two.

“Her letters cheered me up no end.”

While serving the lunches, the duchess joked: “I feel like one of those contestants on MasterChef!”

Pointing to the visor she was wearing, she laughed and added: “I can’t see a thing, this is all steaming up!”

Camilla visits Royal Voluntary Service
Camilla stayed on to help decorate trifle puddings (Andrew Matthews/PA)

Camilla also stayed on to decorate the trifles for pudding with cream, chocolate sprinkles and raspberries, joking: “I’m not very good at this bit.”

As her visit came to an end, the duchess told the diners: “I’ve tried my hand in the kitchen, not very successfully, but I just wanted to thank all the volunteers, you do the most wonderful job.

“I am very proud to be part of the RVS, I am sure all these ladies here appreciate how much you do.

“I hope everyone will get up and do their bit to volunteer.”

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