Prince Charles Ditches Face Mask on England 'Freedom Day' Cathedral Visit

Prince Charles and wife Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, dumped their face masks for a cathedral visit on Britain's post-COVID-restrictions 'Freedom Day'.

The U.K. Government has removed the majority of coronavirus rules in England, as the nation attempts a return to normality despite soaring case numbers.

And the next in line to the throne, 72, made use of the new freedom within hours on a visit to Exeter Cathedral, in South West England.

Charles and Camilla met members of the public outside before speaking to the young choir inside the building.

The move comes a day after brother Prince Edward and his wife, Sophie, Countess of Wessex, were photographed in masks as they visited the McLaren garage of Britain's Formula 1 racecourse, Silverstone.

While the couple did pose for a photograph without face coverings, they were also pictured in their masks both indoors and outdoors during the engagement.

Queen Elizabeth II raised eyebrows when she visited the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory at Porton Down, southwest England, without a face mask in October.

However, Buckingham Palace said at the time that 48 employees of the advanced chemical weapons lab had all been tested prior to the then 94-year-old monarch's arrival and that social distancing had been maintained throughout.

Charles and Camilla are on the first day of a three-day tour of the southwest of England.

They were told about work to restore the cathedral and to celebrate Exeter being designated a UNESCO City of Literature.

Jonathan Greener, Dean of Exeter, escorted the royals inside the place of worship to view treasure, including a 10th-century book of Anglo-Saxon poetry.

A Clarence House spokesperson said before the event: "The Prince will also speak to staff from the Met Office, who are working in collaboration with the Cathedral and Exeter University on climate change research, and a group leading Devon's contribution to The Queen's Green Canopy initiative.

"Meanwhile, Her Royal Highness will meet with a group responsible for the city's
UNESCO Designation and learn about Exeter's literary heritage as well as some of the initiatives underway in the city to promote children's literacy."

Charles got coronavirus in March 2020, during the early days of the pandemic, but experienced only mild symptoms.

In April 2020, he said: "Having recently gone through the process of contracting this coronavirus, luckily with relatively mild symptoms, I now find myself on the other side of the illness but still in no less a state of social distance and general isolation.

"As we are all learning, this is a strange, frustrating and often distressing experience, when the presence of family and friends is no longer possible and the normal structures of life are suddenly removed.

"At such an unprecedented and anxious time in all our lives my wife and I are thinking in particular of all those who have lost their loved ones in such very difficult and abnormal circumstances and of those having to endure sickness, isolation and loneliness."

In Focus

Prince Charles Without his Face Mask

Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, appeared without their face masks during a visit to Exeter Cathedral on July 19, 2021 in Exeter, United Kingdom. It comes after COVID restrictions were legally requiring masks were removed on 'Freedom Day'.
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