Nearly a decade after their Royal Wedding, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge returned to Westminster Abbey to pay tribute to staff and volunteers delivering the Covid-19 vaccine at the historic venue. The London landmark was listed by Tatler, alongside Lord’s Cricket Ground and Salisbury Cathedral, as one of the smartest places you can go to get your vaccination.
Today, 23 March, marks a full year of intermittent lockdowns across the UK and Prince William and Kate also took part in a private moment of reflection to pay tribute to all those who have lost their lives as a result of the pandemic over the past 12 months. The Duke of Cambridge lit a candle and the Duchess, in a chic, cream Catherine Walker coat, left daffodils.
The famous cathedral in which they married on 29 April 2011 is now vaccinating 2,000 people a week in Poets’ Corner in the south transept of the abbey, while remaining open for daily Holy Communion services. The Duke and Duchess heard from staff about their experiences of taking part in the biggest vaccination programme in UK history and spoke to people receiving their jabs in the clinic, which was set up earlier this month. The Duke reportedly told one vaccination team that he and the Duchess had not had their jabs yet.
More than 22.8 million people have now had at least one jab in little over 100 days since the NHS vaccination programme began, whilst another 1.5 million second doses have also been administered. Between 11am and 12pm on Sunday 21 March 96,834 vaccinations were carried out, at an average of 27 jabs a second.
Today, the Queen led Britain in remembering the victims of coronavirus as the country held a national minute’s silence at midday to mark the anniversary. Boris Johnson, who contracted the virus himself, offered his ‘sincere condolences to those who have lost loved ones’ while Prince Charles called on Britain to ‘remember the lives tragically cut short’.
Her Majesty said in a statement released this afternoon: ‘As we look forward to a brighter future together, today we pause to reflect on the grief and loss that continues to be felt by so many people and families, and pay tribute to the immeasurable service of those who have supported us all over the last year.’
The Queen also sent flowers to the hospital where the Duke of Edinburgh underwent heart surgery earlier this month. A bouquet of irises, tulips, mixed narcissi and ranunculus and the message were carried to St Bartholomew’s Hospital in the City of London from Windsor Castle, where the monarch and Philip have been staying during the pandemic. The message read: ‘As we look forward to a brighter future together, today we pause to reflect on the grief and loss that continues to be felt by so many people and families, and pay tribute to the immeasurable service of those who have supported us all over the last year.’ The Queen’s husband Prince Philip was discharged from hospital last week after a four-week stay finally to be reunited with Her Majesty at Windsor.
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