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Charles and Camilla thank staff from The Royal Parks for lockdown efforts

·2-min read

The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall have thanked Royal Parks staff for their hard work keeping public spirits up during the pandemic.

Charles, Patron of The Royal Parks, and Camilla met members of staff from the charity at Hyde Park on Wednesday to pay tribute to them for caring for London’s green spaces.

Camilla also enjoyed a 99 ice cream from the charity’s ice cream van, with Charles encouraging her to “get stuck in” to the treat.

The Duchess of Cornwall with an ice cream
The Duchess of Cornwall with an ice cream during a visit to Hyde Park, London, to thank the Royal Parks staff for maintaining London’s green spaces throughout the COVID-19 pandemic (Tom Nicholson/PA)

The couple spoke to gardeners, apprentices, cleaning staff, litter pickers, volunteer and the mounted police force, whose efforts helped to provide an escape for people during lockdown.

Park staff said it had been a “challenging but rewarding” time, and added it was nice to receive appreciation for their work.

Hyde Park boasts a ‘super’ nursery that houses all 450,000 bedding plants and shrubs needed for flower displays across the eight Royal Parks, including the gardens outside Buckingham Palace.

The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall during their visit to Hyde Park
The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall during their visit to Hyde Park, London, to thank the Royal Parks staff (Tom Nicholson/PA)

Hyde Park nursery manager Mike Jones, who moved from the Midlands 29 years ago to work there, said he had watched the nursery expand to now grow 1,000 varieties of flowers using state-of-the-art technology.

When asked about the responsibility of caring for so many plants, Mr Jones said: “I’ve grown into it. There are very stressful times but we’ve got a great team.

“It’s a great feeling to know that you’re providing to help people’s mental wellbeing and their stress levels.”

The Duchess of Cornwall at Hyde Par
The Duchess of Cornwall at Hyde Park, London (Tom Nicholson/PA)

The Royal Parks charity, launched by Charles in 2017, welcomes 77 million visitors a year to its 5,000 acres of historic parkland across London, including Hyde Park, Kensington Gardens, St James’s Park, The Green Park, The Regent’s Park, Greenwich Park, Richmond Park and Bushy Park.

Andrew Scattergood, chief executive of The Royal Parks, said: “It’s an incredibly special day, but for me it is bigger than just the Royal Parks, I think they’re trying to say thank you to parks and gardens across the UK.

“This year with everything we’ve been through just the importance of green spaces and that access to nature is hugely important, but what today shows you is just how many people are working to enable that to happen.”

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