Camilla misses royal visit with King as she continues to recover from Covid

The Queen Consort pulled out of a trip to tour the warehouse and kitchen of food redistribution charity on Wednesday.

Laura Elston
Wednesday 22 February 2023 14:40 GMT
The Queen Consort (Finnbarr Webster/PA)
The Queen Consort (Finnbarr Webster/PA)

The Queen Consort has pulled out of a visit to a food redistribution charity with the King as she continues to recover from Covid.

Charles made a solo trip instead to meet staff and volunteers at The Felix Project in east London on Wednesday morning.

Buckingham Palace said Camilla had made an “excellent recovery” but was taking time out ahead of a busy day of royal engagements on Thursday.

Camilla, 75, contracted coronavirus last week for the second time and missed a run of engagements after suffering cold-like symptoms.

A Palace spokesperson said: “Her Majesty has made an excellent recovery from last week’s illness.

“However, to allow for additional preparation ahead of Thursday’s rescheduled literary reception and other commitments, Her Majesty will not be attending today’s Felix Project engagement.

“His Majesty’s diary remains unaffected.”

The Palace announced on February 13 – nine days ago – that Camilla had tested positive for Covid-19.

She missed visits to Milton Keynes, Birmingham and Telford last week and postponed a Clarence House literary reception to celebrate the second anniversary of her Reading Room book club, which is now due to take place on Thursday.

Charles toured The Felix Project’s warehouse and kitchens, where volunteers were preparing and packing meals.

The organisation, which distributes surplus supermarket food, is London’s largest food redistribution charity and works to tackle both food waste and food poverty.

Its kitchen makes between 3,500 and 5,000 meals every day, ranging from chicken curry and rice to lentil bake and mashed potatoes.

More than 2 million meals have been distributed so far to organisations which either help people with no access to cooking facilities, or provide meals but do not have the catering facilities to feed everyone using their service.

The charity, in a partnership with The Prince of Wales’s Charitable Fund, recently received a starter fund of £1 million, including a substantial personal donation from the King, which is being used to supply more than 800 fridges and freezers to organisations across the UK to help store more fresh and frozen food.

Charlotte Hill, the Felix Project’s chief executive, said Camilla was missed, especially after her recent visit with Charles to one of the organisations that receives food from the Felix.

She said: “We recently went out to the Harrow Hub, who are one of the community partners we deliver food to, and His Majesty and the Queen Consort both were able to come on that visit.

“So of course we’re disappointed that the Queen Consort isn’t here today, but we hope there’ll be a chance in the future for her to come out and visit a Felix Project depot and we wish her all the best in her recovery.”

During the visit, Charles unveiled a freezer full of food, one of 800 funded by his and other donations, destined for Hackney City Farm, who in turn will distribute the produce to its partners feeding hundreds of people a week.

He was joined in the ceremony by London Mayor Sadiq Khan, also a supporter of the food distribution charity’s work, and they both pulled off the green cloth, emblazoned with the charity’s logos, will flourish.

The charity said the cost-of-living crisis has seen demand from its partner organisations for food donations increase significantly, with the organisation working hard to meet requests.

The King appeared impressed by the work of full-time chefs and volunteer caterers creating meals from whatever produce was donated that day.

He chatted to sous chef Ali Shanavas, who was helping to cut up a batch of broccolis, courgettes and bok choy, a type of Chinese cabbage.

The staff member said: “The King wanted to know where the food was from and what we were going to do with the food. There was a funny moment when he pointed to the bok choy, he knew what it was but forgot what it was called.”

Watching the chefs preparing huge quantities of lentil and vegetable tagine appeared to tingle the royal taste buds as he asked for recipe.

Kitchen manager Nick Kerle said afterwards: “When we told him about the tagine, he said ‘that sounds amazing’ and asked for the recipe.

“It includes red lentils, kidney beans, carrots, peppers, courgettes and fresh tomatoes, along with a large amount of spices like cumin, turmeric and chilli power.”

Charles was given a tour of a cold storage facility at the Felix projects Bow Common depot near Canary Wharf, one of four in the capital, and outside chatted to staff about to take a shipment of food to the Tower Hamlets Hub and joked: “So you know everybody there, they’re all waiting anxiously?”

The King unveiled a plaque during a private ceremony in front of Felix Project supporters who included senior executives from the food industry, Felix staff and Evgeny Lebedev, the owner of the London Evening Standard and a shareholder in The Independent.

Charles said: “Before I go, I must just say what a remarkable organisation the Felix Project is and I just wanted to join in thanking them, and congratulating them, on the remarkable differences they are making all around this country – you’re setting a fantastic example.

“And above all it’s a wonderful example of volunteering as well at its best. So I can’t thank you enough and all the volunteers who represent a remarkable number all around this country who make so many valuable things happen in a remarkable way.”

The King also highlighted the Coronation Champions Awards, launched earlier this week by his wife, which is organised by the Royal Voluntary Service and aims to honour community figures who give up their free time to help others.

He said: “Thank you to all the volunteers and hopefully there may be some Coronation Champion volunteers – you never know.”

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