Camilla said many people would be “facing a gap at the Christmas table” this year. Her comments come after Boris Johnson dramatically scaled down plans to ease coronavirus restrictions over Christmas in England while officials in Wales announced an immediate lockdown amid soaring infection rates sparked by a news strain of the virus.
Writing in day Telegraph’s Stella Magazine, the Duchess said: “Along with many people all over the world, I have always loved the Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols from King’s College Cambridge.
“It is an emotional moment when the dean calls us to remember ‘those who rejoice with us, but upon another shore and in a greater light’.
“For many this year, facing a gap at the Christmas table, these words will have a new and profound poignancy.
“If you know of an older isolated person to whom you could bring a bit of festive cheer, please pick up your telephone and make the call – you really will make a huge difference.”
The importance of the Duchess’s message has been magnified by Mr Johnson’s new Christmas coronavirus crackdown.
Tier 3 areas in London and the South East will be moved into a new Tier 4 – effectively returning to the lockdown rules of November.
The restrictions mean non-essential shops, gyms, cinemas, hairdressers and bowling alleys will be forced to close for two weeks while people will be restricted to meeting one other person from another household in an outdoor public space.
People in areas of England not moved into Tier 4 also face disruption to their Christmas holiday plans.
The Government’s “Christmas bubble” policy which would have allowed up to three households to meet up between December 23 and 27 has been dramatically scaled back and now applies only to Christmas Day.
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Mr Johnson said he was introducing the new restrictions “with a very heavy heart”.
He said: “I know how much emotion people invest in this time of year, and how important it is, for instance, for grandparents to see their grandchildren, for families to be together.
“So I know how disappointing this will be.
“But we have said throughout this pandemic that we must and we will be guided by the science.
“When the science changes, we must change our response.”
Under the new “stay at home” order – covering around a third of the population of England – people in Tier 4 will be told they should not stay away from home overnight and people from outside will be advised not to visit Tier 4 areas.
Mr Johnson said that as Prime Minster he believed there was “no alternative open to me”.
He said: “Without action the evidence suggests that infections would soar, hospitals would become overwhelmed and many thousands more would lose their lives.”