Prince Charles, the heir apparent to the British throne who himself battled COVID-19 illness in March, has returned to public life with wife Duchess Camilla after spending months in isolation at their Birkhall home in Scotland.

Prince Charles and Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, are among the first British royals to resume public royal engagements since coronavirus pandemic. The royal couple, who are currently staying at Highgrove House in Gloucestershire, carried out a face-to-face engagement on Tuesday morning by meeting key workers at the Royal Hospital in the county.

Prince Charles, Duchess Camilla, and other attendees maintained a safe distance from each other at the meeting that took place on the grounds of the hospital, which is about 20 miles from their Highgrove home. During the visit, the royal couple spoke to clinicians, volunteers, clinical psychologists, members of the domestic team, senior biomedical scientists, junior doctors, members of the social work team, and other frontline workers from the healthcare system.

The pictures were shared on social media by Clarence House, their official residence, with the caption: "'They are Britain at its best.' The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall today visited Gloucestershire Royal Hospital and thanked key staff who have been working on the frontline of the COVID-19 pandemic."

During the meeting which marked their first working visit since coronavirus lockdown, the duchess said: "There is nothing like being able to thank the NHS staff face-to-face even if the choreography is a little bit different! They are Britain at its best." The prince, meanwhile, praised the "marvellous cooperation" of all involved.

Prince Charles and Camilla
Prince Charles, Camilla. Photo: Getty Images/Chris Jackson

The Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has admitted 649 patients with confirmed COVID-19 till now, including 91 patients admitted to critical care. Sadly, 162 of these patients passed away from the respiratory disease. As of Monday, there are just 12 patients of the virus in the Trust's two hospitals, with a further 29 awaiting test results. Gloucestershire, which is also home to Princess Anne's children Zara Tindall and Peter Phillips, has recorded 1,378 COVID-19 cases so far.