Prince Philip makes rare public statement to praise key workers tackling coronavirus

The Duke of Edinburgh. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

The Duke of Edinburgh. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2018

The Duke of Edinburgh has made a rare public statement, praising those tackling the coronavirus pandemic across the UK and keeping essential services running.

Philip, 98, who retired from public duties in 2017, said he wanted to recognise the “vital and urgent” medical and scientific work taking place.

In his message, the duke also gave thanks to key workers, including those involved in food production and distribution, refuse collection, and postal and delivery services.

In his message, published on the royal family’s social media channels, he said: “As we approach World Immunisation Week, I wanted to recognise the vital and urgent work being done by so many to tackle the pandemic; by those in the medical and scientific professions, at universities and research institutions, all united in working to protect us from Covid-19.

“On behalf of those of us who remain safe and at home, I also wanted to thank all key workers who ensure the infrastructure of our life continues; the staff and volunteers working in food production and distribution, those keeping postal and delivery services going, and those ensuring the rubbish continues to be collected.”

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The message was signed off with “Philip”.

The duke is affiliated to more than 750 organisations, including the scientific, technological research, healthcare and infrastructure sectors which have been responding to the outbreak.

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Philip, who turns 99 in June, spends much of his time at the Sandringham estate in Norfolk.

But, following the coronavirus outbreak, he has been staying with the Queen, 93, at Windsor Castle, with a reduced household for their safety.

Meanwhile, the Duke of Cambridge has said the family are doing “everything we can” to protect the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh.

William’s admissions were made in an interview with the BBC, in which he said: “Obviously I think very carefully about my grandparents - who are the age they’re at, we’re doing everything we can to make sure that they’re isolated away and protected from this.

“But it does worry me, what’s going to happen to a lot of the vulnerable, high-risk people who are going potentially to have to isolate away for quite some time.”

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