Camilla donned a face shield and mask and joined volunteers serving hot meals at the Mill End Community Centre in Rickmansworth, Hertfordshire. There, the Duchess of Cornwall served a steaming hot plate of gammon, mashed potatoes, carrots and peas to Kay Francis, a 96-year-old who is almost blind and hard of hearing.
After Camilla gently put the plate in front of her, Ms Francis, not aware she was speaking to royalty, asked: “Aren’t you going to cut it up?”
Easy-going Camilla quickly replied: “Of course I will. More than happy to help.”
Ms Francis explained her need to be helped saying: “Sorry, I can’t see”.
Camilla, joking about the steamed visor she was donning, replied: “Not to worry, I don’t think I can see either.
Camilla helping Kay Francis with her lunch
Camilla met Doris Winfield at the centre
“There’s a lot of mash there, don’t worry. Now, there you are.”
Camilla, who is the president of the Royal Voluntary Service (RVS), also helped to prepare trifles and sat down with a few elderly at the centre.
The RVS provides hot meals and company for the elderly in the area every working day of the week.
Camilla was invited to the centre by Doris Winfield, an 86-year-old who the Duchess first spoke to over the phone at the height of lockdown.
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Camilla donned a shield and face mask
Immediately after leaving self-isolation following Prince Charles’s positive diagnosis to coronavirus, Camilla took part in the “check in and chat” initiative by the RVS.
The Duchess spoke to Ms Winfield, who has since stayed in touch with the 73-year-old royal via phone and letters.
Spotting her pen pal at the centre, Camilla cheerfully said: “Ah! The famous Doris!
“It is so lovely to meet you at last in person. You asked if I would come and here I am!”
Camilla visited the Mill End Community Centre
Camilla served lunch to pensioners at the centre
“I wish I could shake your hand but I’m not allowed so I will have to make do by sitting here on the table opposite you.
“We have had a lot of correspondence so I had to come and see you.
“Are you still reading your Agatha Christies?”
Camilla publicly acknowledged her friendships with Ms Winfield too, saying she got to know about the lively centre only thanks to the pensioner.
She told the diners: “We talked on the telephone and corresponded and she told that she came to this wonderful lunch club in Rickmansworth and said if you are ever coming this way, please drop in. So here I am!
Camilla married Prince Charles in 2005
“I’ve tried my hand in the kitchen, not very successfully, but I just wanted to thank all the volunteers, you do the most wonderful job.
“I am very proud to be part of the RVS. I am sure all these ladies here appreciate how much you do.”
Speaking about their her much-awaited encounter with Camilla, Ms Winfield said: “She’s just a lovely, lovely lady.
“She has taken time out to speak and write to me without anyone knowing about it.
“Lockdown was a very lonely time for people like me, I really missed coming here.
“I used to come every day and now I only come two.
Camilla first spoke to Doris Winfield at the height of lockdown
“Her letters cheered me up no end.”
Camilla’s no-nonsense attitude during her latest engagement was highly praised on social media.
Royal fan Isabella wrote: “A kind, caring and human touch.
“She’s quietly shaming us all into action caring for the elderly, caring for one another.”
Rolene added: “I like the Duchess of Cornwall more and more. A warm, dignified and dedicated lady.”
Another Twitter user added: “I like Camilla she’s always so down to earth and she makes Charles deliriously happy.”