President Macron visited Prince Charles and Camilla in London to mark the 80th anniversary of Charles de Gaulle's "Appel"

By Stephanie Pettit
June 18, 2020 12:54 PM
Prince Charles, Camilla Duchess of Cornwall and President Macron
Samir Hussein/WireImage

Royal business is back in action, but not without necessary coronavirus precautions.

Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall were back in London on Thursday to host President of the French Republic Emmanuel Macron for a special occasion: the 80th anniversary of Charles de Gaulle's "Appel," or broadcast to occupied France after the Nazi invasion in 1940.

President Macron was welcomed by the royal couple at their London home, Clarence House, with namaste greetings rather than traditional handshakes, keeping with social distancing guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19. They also kept a safe distance from each other at a ceremony at Carlton Gardens later in the day, where wreaths were laid at the statues of King George VI, the Queen Mother and de Gaulle.

Prince Charles began using the namaste greeting, a traditional Hindu greeting where the palms are pressed together and accompanied with a slight bow, at the Commonwealth Day service in March. However, during an outing a few days later, Queen Elizabeth's son had a harder time getting used to the new normal, offering his hand before being reminded of the change.

"It’s just so hard to remember not to," Prince Charles said.

President Macron, Prince Charles and Camilla Duchess of Cornwall
Jonathan Brady - WPA Pool/Getty

During Thursday's visit, Macron also presented the Légion d’Honneur, France’s highest distinction, to London for services during World War II.

Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall and Prince Charles
Samir Hussein/WireImage
Camilla Duchess of Cornwall, Prince Charles and President Macron

Prince Charles, 71, and Camilla, 72, were among the first British royals to return to in-person engagements amid the pandemic. They visited the Gloucestershire Royal Hospital on Tuesday to express their thanks for keeping the healthcare and its emergency services going throughout the crisis.

During the outing, Charles recounted his own experience after being diagnosed with COVID-19 in March.

"He [Prince Charles] did speak of his personal experience, so first-hand experience for him," health care assistant Jeff Wall told the Daily Mail. "He also spoke about his loss of smell and taste and, sort of, still felt he's still got it now."

Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall and Prince Charles
PA Images

Prince Charles is also warning of the "potentially devastating" impact of coronavirus on young people, telling The Telegraph"In times of economic hardship, it is often young people who are hardest hit and we know that many under 25s work in sectors such as hospitality and tourism, which have borne the brunt of this crisis. We also know the difficulties faced by a disrupted education, the loss of entry level jobs and the rising unemployment."

Charles' charity The Prince’s Trust has called on government, businesses and charities to come together to prevent a youth jobs crisis and to ensure a generation doesn't lose hope.

Prince Charles

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"It is a real challenge to thrive in the midst of chaos and economic disorder. But this is why my trust was set up, to help people to a better future," the royal said. "I know only too well that youth unemployment can cause a terrible downward spiral, impacting mental health and leading to challenges such as low self-esteem, poverty, homelessness or worse."

"When I founded my Trust 44 years ago, the problems facing young people through unemployment and a lack of support were serious," he said. "Now, I fear those problems have gone from serious to potentially devastating."