Charles surprises 50th birthday revellers during visit to The Ritz

The Prince of Wales surprised a group of women celebrating a 50th birthday when he visited The Ritz to thank staff for their “tireless” efforts.

Charles, who wore a mask, elbow-bumped the partygoers during a tour of the famous London hotel synonymous with afternoon teas and evening cocktails.

The Ritz was also the venue where the prince and his wife the Duchess of Cornwall, then Camilla Parker Bowles, stepped out in public for the first time as a couple in 1999.

Charles meets staff during a visit to the Ritz. Chris Jackson/PA Wire
Charles meets staff during a visit to the Ritz (Chris Jackson/PA)

During his visit Charles met members of the housemaids, concierge and restaurant teams and other staff under a large Christmas tree in the lobby.

He chatted to them for ten minutes about how the hospitality industry was faring, and thanked them for their “tireless efforts, especially at this time of year”.

As Charles walked through the hotel towards the kitchens he met the 50th birthday group and they each received a celebratory elbow-bump from the heir to the throne.

The Ritz's executive chef John Williams chats to Charles. Chris Jackson/PA Wire
The Ritz’s executive chef John Williams chats to Charles (Chris Jackson/PA)

His visit followed a trip to London’s 100 Club and the Soho Theatre last week, when Charles heard how the entertainment industry was coping during the pandemic.

The Ritz’s executive chef John Williams, who has prepared many meals for the royal family, introduced the prince to a range of staff including a large number of Italian workers.

Charles told them: “We love Italy!”

When he was shown a fish dish being prepared he commented on the importance of the produce being sustainably sourced and was told it was.

Charles casts his eye over Ritz staff at work. Chris Jackson/PA Wire
Charles casts his eye over Ritz staff at work (Chris Jackson/PA)

Charles also talked to the teams about how they had managed during lockdown and discussed the impact Covid was having on the whole of the hospitality industry.

“We couldn’t manage without you!” he said to a group of kitchen porters who had been invited to meet him.

Charles added: “I have been so worried about the devastation being caused by this pandemic – we really are so glad you are getting back to business.”

Before leaving the prince was given a gift of a Christmas pudding from the hotel and wished everybody a “Happy Christmas and a better New Year”.

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