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Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall Meets Volunteers at COVID Vaccination Center: 'First Step of Freedom'

Simon Perry
·3 min read

Royal Voluntary Service Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall in London on Tuesday

A day after Prince William met staffers at a vaccination center, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall is continuing the royals' support for supporting the effort to combat COVID-19.

Camilla, 73, visited a vaccination center in London on Tuesday to thank volunteers who are working alongside health professionals in the vaccination rollout.

Camilla, who had her first vaccination recently alongside husband Prince Charles, told those waiting at the center, "It feels like the first step of freedom, I certainly felt like that [after getting the vaccine]. I hope you're able to be reunited with your grandchildren, I think we're all looking forward to that!"

Camilla's visit came in her role as patron of the Royal Voluntary Service, which has been helping in the massive operation to staff the centers around the U.K. As she spoke to volunteer Liyann Ooi, 27, Camilla told her, "Thank goodness for volunteers."

Royal Voluntary Service Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall

The student, who is currently working for a Masters in Health Psychology at University College London, moved to the U.K. from Malaysia in September 2020 as a Chevening Scholar and was eager to get involved with her local community. She said that because Camilla had already received what Britons colloquially call "the jab," it had provided "reassurance to those yet to have theirs."

"I have loved my time volunteering so far and meeting Her Royal Highness today really was amazing," she added.

Royal Voluntary Service Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall on Tuesday

"I find being around people who are passionate about the same cause is very inspiring. I really wanted to do something to support the community as I believe that we all need to be there for each other," Ooi continued. "I only moved to the U.K. a few months ago, so it has also been really heart-warming meeting local people from all walks of life. Every small act of kindness has the power to inspire another, and the collective power of volunteering can change people's lives for the better."

On Monday, William, 38, paid an early morning visit to a center near his country home of Norfolk where health workers are administering the COVID-19 vaccine.

Royal Voluntary Service Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall in London on Tuesday

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At the King's Lynn Corn Exchange, William — who was diagnosed with COVID-19 last April — met some of those receiving the vaccine and spoke to National Health Service staff and volunteers about their experiences of being a part of the largest vaccination program in British history.

Camilla also heard on Tuesday how the Steward Volunteers play a key role in the vaccination process by ensuring the safe and efficient flow of patients on-site. They also identify those who may need extra support and share words of encouragement as people prepare to receive their vaccines. So far, 437,000 on-duty NHS Volunteer Responders have completed more than 1.5 million tasks for people in need across all roles.

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Throughout the pandemic, Camilla, along with Kate Middleton and Sophie, the Countess of Wessex and the Duchess of Gloucester, have also been supporting the RVS's "check-in and chat" calls to those who are self-isolating.