The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall adapted quickly to a new digital way of working during lockdown, aides have revealed.
Charles, 71, and Camilla, 73, embraced changes from the onset of the coronavirus pandemic restrictions, Clive Alderton, the prince’s principal private secretary, told.
The royal couple have been using smartphones propped on books, Zoom, Microsoft Teams and Camilla has even been converted to using social networking app House Party.
The couple’s experience of keeping in contact digitally with their families was said to have prepared them well for the switch to online work – however the pair are still keen to get out and about as much as they can as restrictions loosen.
The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall adapted quickly to a new digital way of working during lockdown, aides have revealed. Pictured, the Prince of Wales appearing in a video encouraging the nation to brew up for Macmillan’s coffee morning
Charles, 71, and Camilla, 73, embraced changes from the onset of the coronavirus pandemic restrictions. Pictured, Camilla on the phone at Birkhall in Aberdeenshire
‘As the world went into lockdown, Their Royal Highnesses adapted literally overnight to a new digital first way of working,’ Alderton said.
‘For a family that is used to having to be “seen to be believed”, this was a new challenge.
‘But the films they made using little more than a smartphone propped up on a pile of books, reached millions covering topics ranging from isolation, domestic violence, to book lists to keep the mind active.’
As Clarence House’s annual review briefing was held virtually for the first time, a senior royal source told how Camilla was converted to using the social networking app House Party.
WHAT IS HOUSE PARTY?
Houseparty is a social networking service that enables group video chatting through mobile and desktop apps in groups of up to eight people.
Users receive a notification when friends are online and available to group video chat.
The app swept the country during the coronavirus lockdown, with users making the most of the programmes gaming and quiz features.
But the video call app hit headlines after rumours that it had been hacked, and users private information was at risk.
It’s creators said it had been targeted by a ‘commercial smear campaign’ and even offered a $1million reward for anyone who had information on the rumours.
Privacy specialists Farrer & Co, the firm used by the Queen, said hackers and criminals can exploit flaws in Houseparty’s systems to access highly sensitive data.
Associate Thomas Rudkin said people should consider using safer encrypted platforms such as Facetime and WhatsApp – though all have risks.
He said: ‘With video conferencing apps, there are also always concerns about how hackers and criminals might exploit them.
‘While Houseparty has extensive restrictions on who can join chats, risks may arise due to people making contacts on Facebook and then being asked to connect with them on Houseparty.
‘They were able, literally overnight from the moment the Prime Minister announced that national lockdown, to flick into doing everything online by Zoom, with Teams, the Duchess discovered House Party,’ Alderton said.
But it was stressed that the Prince, the Duchess and the rest of the royal family would try to get out and about to meet people as much as restrictions allowed.
‘This is a family that loves being out there, that loves meeting people, that is energised by being out there and meeting people but we’re finding that they’re also pretty energised by meeting people virtually,’ the source went on.
The royal family, pictured on International Nurses Day, adapted to an unprecedented change in royal duties during lockdown, with public appearances swapped for online video calls
‘So we’ll keep them connected in every way we can, we are still hoping to get them out and about as much as we can. We will use every bit of the flexibility that the various home nations’ administrations allow.’
Clarence House said a couple of short foreign visits were being planned and would go ahead if permitted.
Charles contracted a mild form of coronavirus in March and had to isolate in Birkhall in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, and among the many video messages he delivered was one offering his own reflections on his experience.
It was stressed that the Prince, the Duchess, pictured in Cornwall in July, and the rest of the royal family would try to get out and about to meet people as much as restrictions allowed
In the video, Charles sent his wishes to those battling the virus, touching on his own recovery back in April.
‘Having experienced this dreadful coronavirus myself, my heart goes out to all those currently battling the disease, those caring for them – either at home or in your first-class healthcare system – and those who have so tragically lost their loved ones,’ he said.
The royal thanked essential workers, including those in aged care, hospitals, transport and supermarkets for ‘doing a remarkable utterly vital job in such difficult and challenging circumstances’.
The royal family adapted to an unprecedented change in royal duties during lockdown, with public appearances swapped for online video calls.
Prince Charles (pictured) sent his wishes to those battling the virus, touching on his own recovery back in April
The Queen delivered two rare televised addresses to the nation, and also took part in her own first official video conference call as part of her public duties, speaking to carers with the Princess Royal.
Most recently, Charles filmed video encouraging Britons to raise money for Macmillan Cancer Support’s coffee morning this Friday.
The Prince of Wales celebrated the 30th anniversary of the fundraising event that allows people to ‘raise a cuppa’ to those battling cancer and said it represented the ‘very best of British community spirit’.
Charles, who is Macmillan’s patron, advocated the charity’s annual fundraising drive, saying: ‘It truly represents the very best of British community spirit – and, in current times, we are learning just how powerful communities can be, especially in a crisis.’