Prince Charles was diagnosed with a "mild" case of COVID-19 in mid-March

By Gabrielle Chung
June 16, 2020 07:53 PM
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Prince Charles
BEN BIRCHALL/getty

Prince Charles is opening up about his recovery from the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

On Tuesday, Charles, 71, spoke about contracting the respiratory virus during a visit to Gloucestershire Royal Hospital with Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, revealing in a conversation with a health care worker that he is still recovering from the loss of his sense of taste and smell, according to the Daily Mail.

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

The loss of taste and smell appears to be an early sign of COVID-19 and was a common symptom among patients in South Korea, China and Italy, according to ENT UK, an organization of ear, nose and throat doctors in the United Kingdom.

Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall
Chris Jackson/Getty Images

Charles contracted COVID-19, which has killed more than 40,000 people in the U.K., in March, though he said at the time that he had "mild symptoms."

Soon after his diagnosis, the royal self-isolated for seven days in his home in Scotland while Camilla, 72, stayed in stay in another part of the property.

The couple recently traveled south from their home, Birkhall, in the Highlands of Scotland, where they had been isolating since mid-March.

Tuesday's hospital visit was a way for Charles and Camilla to express their thanks to essential workers for keeping the health care and emergency services going throughout the pandemic.

The couple spent around 30 minutes meeting around 20 health care workers in the hospital grounds, standing six feet apart from staffers and refrained from shaking hands as a part of the U.K. government's social distancing guidelines.

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While speaking with hospital staff, Camilla opened up about seeing her grandchildren for the first time since lockdown.

"First time last weekend," she told one essential worker, according to the Daily Mail. "Not hug them, but see them — a great treat."

The visit is also the first of several public engagements for Charles and Camilla this week. On Thursday, they are set to host French President Emmanuel Macron in a special ceremony at their London residence, Clarence House.

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President Macron is in London to officially celebrate the 80th Anniversary of General de Gaulle’s "Appel" — when he urged the French population to resist the German occupation of his country during World War II.

Charles and Camilla's move south shows that formal public royal engagements are gradually beginning to resume. The royal couple and those attending Thursday's ceremony will be adhering to social distancing guidelines, a royal source tells PEOPLE.

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