Charles is not popular enough to take over from the Queen says O'Neill
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Charles, Prince of Wales, yesterday visited the Samaritans at their Gloucester and District Branch to celebrate 50 years of “important” work – greeting some volunteers, as he has been doing throughout the pandemic, with Namaste and others with a royal handshake.
Prince Charles, 72, has been patron of the Samaritans since 1999.
During yesterday’s visit to the charity, he could be seen speaking to volunteers over tea and honey. He told them: “You are such an amazing credit to this country in terms of what you do, all the time, for so long.
“I know one [volunteer] has been here for 50 years, others 40, 30 and so on.
“You are, if I may say so, the absolute backbone of what is required and are here for people who otherwise wouldn’t get the help they need.”
According to the charity, Samaritan volunteers help around 10,000 people who need to talk to someone every day over the phone.
During last year’s lockdowns, 20,000 volunteers joined the Samaritans’ mission as volunteers to provide support for those struggling to cope, in emotional distress or at risk of suicide.
Prince Charles, unveiling a plaque and cutting a celebratory cake, said he hoped they knew “just how important” their work is: “I can’t tell you how proud I am to be involved in such a remarkable organisation.
“All I can say, for what it’s worth, is thank you for giving up your precious time and psychological contribution. I can imagine how emotionally wearing it must be.
“The fact that you do it is fantastic. Thank you, thank you.”
Susan Raftree, Branch Director at Gloucester Samaritans, said it had been a “great honour” to receive Charles, their Royal Patron. “The Prince of Wales taking the time to visit us means so much to everyone here.”
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Prince Charles opts for a Namaste at Prince's Trust Awards
The heir to the throne offered some volunteers and staff his well-known Namaste greeting, which he has been using during the coronavirus pandemic in a bid to avoid the spread of Covid.
However, old habits emerged too, and the royal handshake made a return at what is proving to be a busy week for the royals, especially on the charity front.
He and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall hosted a reception for her Reading Room – a free initiative she launched at the end of 2020 as a “celebration of literature” after the reading lists she posted during lockdown received a fantastic response from fans.
Literacy, in particular among children, is an area of great interest for Camilla, 72.
She has been involved with several charities that focus on the issue since she became part of the Royal Family in 2005 and is patron of seven.
The reception of the Duchess’s reading club welcomed celebrity guests including Charles Dance, Dame Judi Dench, Dame Antonia Fraser, Dame Edna O’Brien and Sara Cox.
For confidential support in the UK, call the Samaritans on 116123 or visit www.samaritans.org for details. In the US, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255)
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