Duchess of Cornwall ‘leapt for joy’ when receiving Covid-19 jab

Tom Pilgrim and Tony Jones, PA

The Duchess of Cornwall said she “leapt for joy” when receiving her Covid-19 jab and told hospital patients waiting for the vaccine that “it doesn’t hurt”.

Camilla joined her husband the Prince of Wales on a visit to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham on Wednesday to learn about coronavirus vaccine trials.

The royal couple met clinical trial volunteers, as well as healthcare staff receiving their inoculations, in their first joint official public event for two months.

Clarence House confirmed last week that Charles, 72, and Camilla, 73, have had their first Covid-19 vaccinations, with the pair offering reassurance to patients during their hospital tour.

They met 50-year-old Nicki Cadwallader, who was receiving a jab as part of a trial for cancer patients.

Charles told her: “Don’t worry, it doesn’t take too long.”

“It’s a good thing. It doesn’t hurt,” Camilla added.

“I was waiting for it to be done and they said ‘it has been done’. It was painless. It was brilliant.

“It’s very good when it’s over as you feel more secure. Panic over.”

The duchess later told the vaccination trial staff: “I leapt for joy. I didn’t feel anything. I’m eternally grateful for everything.”

Royal visit to Queen Elizabeth Hospital
The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall talk with Health Secretary Matt Hancock (Molly Darlington/PA)

As the heir to the throne and his wife first arrived at the hospital on Wednesday, they were greeted at a distance by Health Secretary Matt Hancock and all wore face masks.

The University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust is believed to have treated the largest number of Covid-positive patients of any NHS trust in the UK – more than 12,500 – with 10,000 of these discharged.

The trust has also recruited a large number of patients for the trials – 12,000.

During their visit, Charles and Camilla unveiled a plaque which thanked staff for their “incredible efforts” during the pandemic.

In a speech, Charles noted he was a similar age to the NHS and joked: “But the NHS has done a great deal better I can assure you than I have. As I am gradually falling apart.”

Thanking staff, he said the NHS had “masses” of “unsung and unseen heroes”.

“We owe them all such an enormous debt of gratitude,” he said, adding: “We are very lucky indeed to have you”.

Royal visit to Queen Elizabeth Hospital
The Prince of Wales during a visit to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham (Molly Darlington/PA)

Among the chemotherapy patients taking part in the vaccine trial is married mother-of-three and property developer Ms Cadwallader, of Bromsgrove, Worcestershire, who has been shielding since November since she was diagnosed with breast cancer.

She said: “I’m delighted. I’ve been waiting for this day for a long time and I’m so happy. I can get my life back.”

She said people should not be “hesitant” about getting a jab, saying it would help her “get back to normal again”.

“I’m happy the country got it so quickly. This means the world to me. I can’t wait to go back down the supermarket again, it’s the simple things,” she added.

The royal couple also thanked volunteers who came forward for the clinical trial.

Harriet Nash, 69, said: “I told the duchess I saw it on the NHS app and I wanted to do whatever I could to help.”

Mr Hancock said: “Thankfully there are signs we are on our way out. There is still a long way to go. Things are improving.

“At this hospital, the number of patients with Covid has fallen from more than 1,000 at its highest, the biggest of any hospital group in the county, to under 600.

“And the vaccination effort at this hospital hub has been one the best in the entire country.”

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