The Duchess of Cornwall today became the first royal to wear a visor in public as she paid a visit to a Medical Detection Dogs training centre.
Camilla, 73, has worn fabric face masks on two previous occasions, including on an engagement yesterday, but decided to opt for a plastic visor for today’s outing in Milton Keynes, where she met dogs being trained to detect Covid-19.
The royal wore the visor because she feels it is ‘easier to communicate’ when you can ‘see someone smile and speak’, according to ITV royal correspondent Chris Ship.
However some social media users noted Camilla appeared to wear the visor ‘too high’ on her head to provide adequate covering of her face. Others said the efficacy of visors is greatly reduced when worn without a face mask underneath.
Camilla wore the visor when she was in close proximity to others, including dog handlers, but was able to remove it when she could maintain social distancing.
Camilla looked in good spirits as she was greeted by a pair of pooches during a visit to the Medical Detection Dogs training center today
The Duchess of Cornwall, 73, donned a visor as she petted Basil, a Chocolate Labrador at the charity’s training center in Milton Keynes
The royal seemed in good spirits as she met Storm, a Labrador Cross Golden Retriever alongside an employee of the charity
The Duchess of Cornwall was on hand to meet dogs who are being trained to detect Covid-19.
Medical Detection Dogs is at the forefront of research into whether dogs are able detect the smell of human diseases and save lives.
They have been researching whether dogs are able to detect cancer and other life-threatening diseases, including Parkinson’s disease and bacterial infections, for years.
Their ‘Bio Detection Dogs’ are trained to find the odour of those diseases in samples such as urine, breath and sweat.
She donned an elegant royal blue below-the-knee dress paired with a nude handbag, orange leather shoes
The royal donned a full length plastic visor and a daisy-themed brooch to the training centre visit
Camilla, pictured at the training center, visited the charity after a night out at exclusive Mayfair private members’ club Oswald’s last night
The duchess, who is patron of the charity, was greeted on arrival by working dog Storm – a Labrador Golden Retriever cross who is also in training to detect the virus.
In the indoor training room, Camilla watched as cocker spaniel Asher and fox red Labrador Belle were taught to sniff out Covid-19 samples alongside bio detection specialist trainers.
The dogs also carried out a demonstration of passive screening, which could be used in public places such as airports.
The collaboration between the charity, the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and Durham University will ascertain whether dogs can detect the odour of the Covid-19 illness.
The royal looked thrilled to meet the Labradors and was seen grinning at the animals as she was met by charity employees
Pictured, a Labrador Cross Golden Retriever at Medical Detection Dogs charity awaits the arrival of Camilla ahead of her visit to the charity
Camilla looked happy to meet the dogs, who able to detect subtle changes in temperature of the skin, meaning they could detect if someone has a fever
If successful, the trial could revolutionise diagnosis of the virus by enabling screening of high numbers of people, even if asymptomatic.
Dogs could be deployed to airports in the UK within six months to assist with rapid screening of people travelling from abroad – potentially up to 250 people per hour.
Professor Steve Lindsay, from the Department of Biosciences at Durham University, said: ‘If we can show that our trained dogs can identify people carrying the virus, but who are not sick, it will be a game changer.
The Duchess of Cornwall wore her blonde locks in a classic polished style and teamed her dress with dainty jewellery and a pair of pearl earrings
Camilla, pictured before her visit to the training center, threw her support behind the charity in May
The Duchess looked pleased to meet staff and supporters of the charity outside the training center
‘We will then be able to scale-up the use of dogs at ports of entry to identify travellers entering the country with the virus.
‘This could be very important to help prevent a second wave of the epidemic.’
Medical Detection Dogs trains the animals to detect the odour of human disease with the aim of improving diagnosis and saving lives.
Bio Detection Dogs already investigate samples to find the odour of cancer, malaria, Parkinson’s and other diseases.
Camilla met ‘Bio Detection Dogs’, trained to find the odour of those diseases in samples such as urine, breath and sweat
Animal-lover Camilla didn’t flinch as one of the dogs jumped onto her dress, as grinning royal fans watched the adorable encounter
The Duchess of Cornwall was in high spirits as she chatted to smiling employees at the training center
The Duchess of Cornwall grinned as she went inside the training center to meet employees
She smiled during her visit to the charity, which has been researching whether dogs are able to detect cancer and other life-threatening diseases for years
Inside, the royal was given a detailed demonstration showcasing how a dog could learn to detect Covid-19
Staff members sat at a safe distance from each other as dogs were brought out to show how they could potentially spot medical changes in humans
The animals will be trained in the same way as dogs already trained to detect diseases like cancer