Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles go mask-free as they visit Exeter Cathedral


Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles went mask-free today during a visit to Exeter Cathedral – the first stop on their three-day tour of the South West. 

The Prince of Wales, 72, and the Duchess of Cornwall, who turned 74 on Saturday, were all smiles as they chatted to crowds and were greeted by lord lieutenant Julian Tagg.

Once inside the cathedral, Charles and Camilla spoke to members of its choir, none of whom were wearing masks. 

Camilla looked stylish in a navy blue dress adorned with colourful feathers, while the prince donned a pale grey suit with a jazzy tie emblazoned with zebras and his orange-rimmed Serengeti sunglasses. 

The royal couple will visit several sites in Devon today, beginning in Exeter to celebrate it becoming a UNESCO City of Literature.

The Prince of Wales and Camilla Parker Bowles kicked off their three-day tour of the South West with a visit to Exeter Cathedral today

Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles went mask-free today during a visit to Exeter Cathedral - the first stop on their three-day tour of the South West

Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles went mask-free today during a visit to Exeter Cathedral – the first stop on their three-day tour of the South West

Camilla looked stylish in a navy blue dress adorned with colourful feathers, teamed with tan court shoes as she spoke to members of the choir

Camilla looked stylish in a navy blue dress adorned with colourful feathers, teamed with tan court shoes as she spoke to members of the choir

Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall and Prince Charles, Prince of Wales pictured departing Exeter Cathedral this morning

Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall and Prince Charles, Prince of Wales pictured departing Exeter Cathedral this morning

The couple were all smiles as they chatted to crowds that had gathered for their visit and were greeted by lord lieutenant Julian Tagg

The couple were all smiles as they chatted to crowds that had gathered for their visit and were greeted by lord lieutenant Julian Tagg

Yesterday it was revealed that Charles will only wear a mask when Government advice dictates that he should do so

Yesterday it was revealed that Charles will only wear a mask when Government advice dictates that he should do so. Camilla is also known to dislike masks

Yesterday it was revealed that Charles will only wear a mask when Government advice dictates that he should do so. Camilla is also known to dislike masks

Prince Charles, Prince of Wales meets and chats to unmasked members of the public during a visit to Exeter Cathedral

Prince Charles, Prince of Wales meets and chats to unmasked members of the public during a visit to Exeter Cathedral

The royal couple looked delighted to be able to interact with the public again without face coverings

The royal couple looked delighted to be able to interact with the public again without face coverings

The royal couple looked delighted to be able to interact with the public again without the requirement for face coverings

As Charles is patron of the Exeter Cathedral Development appeal, the place of worship was the first stop on their list, followed by Devon Wildlife Trust, Exeter City Community Trust and the Met Office.

There they learned about the restoration of the grand building before meeting community groups that work closely with the prince’s passion for the environment.

Founded in 1050, the Cathedral continues to offer daily Christian worship and choral music, alongside its roles as a community hub, heritage destination and venue for concerts and events. 

It is home to an extensive library and archive, housing important treasures such as the Exeter Book thought to be the world’s oldest surviving book of English literature. 

Duchess of Cornwall is presented with a bunch of posys by the youngest member of the Cathedral's choir on her departure from Exeter Cathedral

The Duchess of Cornwall is presented with a bunch of posys by the youngest member of the Cathedral's choir on her departure from Exeter Cathedral

Duchess of Cornwall is presented with a bunch of posys by the youngest member of the Cathedral’s choir on her departure from Exeter Cathedral

As Prince Charles is patron of the Exeter Cathedral Development appeal, the place of worship was the first stop on their list

As Prince Charles is patron of the Exeter Cathedral Development appeal, the place of worship was the first stop on their list

Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall views some of the Cathedral's historic treasures including the Exeter Book during a visit to Exeter Cathedral

Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall views some of the Cathedral’s historic treasures including the Exeter Book during a visit to Exeter Cathedral 

The visit celebrates the city's designation as a UNESCO City of Literature and launch of The Royal College of Nursing's Prince of Wales Nursing Cadet Scheme in England

The visit celebrates the city’s designation as a UNESCO City of Literature and launch of The Royal College of Nursing’s Prince of Wales Nursing Cadet Scheme in England

The Prince of Wales and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall meet Lord Mayor of Exeter, Councillor Trish Oliver during a visit to Exeter Cathedral

The Prince of Wales and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall meet Lord Mayor of Exeter, Councillor Trish Oliver during a visit to Exeter Cathedral

The Prince of Wales meets with young people dressed in uniform from Devon Nursing Cadets during a visit to Exeter Cathedral

The Prince of Wales meets with young people dressed in uniform from Devon Nursing Cadets during a visit to Exeter Cathedral

Camilla views some of the cathedral's historic artefacts

Prince Charles chats to young people from Devon Nursing Cadets

Camilla views some of the cathedral’s historic artefacts (left) while Prince Charles chats to young people from Devon Nursing Cadets

Camilla Parker Bowles is seen particularly admiring one of the cathedral's historic artefacts - a religious robe on a mannequin

Camilla Parker Bowles is seen particularly admiring one of the cathedral’s historic artefacts – a religious robe on a mannequin

The Prince of Wales, dressed in a grey suit, observes a gargoyle statue with a wry smile during a visit to Exeter Cathedral today

The Prince of Wales, dressed in a grey suit, observes a gargoyle statue with a wry smile during a visit to Exeter Cathedral today

Lightbulb moment? Prince Charles, wearing his trusty thistle beside a silver pin, is seen stood beneath a circular light fitting at Exeter Cathedral

Lightbulb moment? Prince Charles, wearing his trusty thistle beside a silver pin, is seen stood beneath a circular light fitting at Exeter Cathedral

Lightbulb moment? Prince Charles, wearing his trusty thistle beside a silver pin, is seen stood beneath a circular light fitting at Exeter Cathedral

Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall and Prince Charles, Prince of Wales sign the visitors book during a visit to Exeter Cathedral

Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall and Prince Charles, Prince of Wales sign the visitors book during a visit to Exeter Cathedral

The Duchess of Cornwall clutches her posy of flowers, given to her by members of the choir, as she departs Exeter Cathedral today

The Duchess of Cornwall clutches her posy of flowers, given to her by members of the choir, as she departs Exeter Cathedral today

The Duchess of Cornwall clutches her posy of flowers, given to her by members of the choir, as she departs Exeter Cathedral today

Prince Charles will also launch the new Prince of Wales Nursing Cadet Scheme.

For the first time in months, the royals’ trip was made public in advance; during the pandemic, visits have been kept secret to prevent crowds congregating.

It coincided with Freedom Day, which saw almost all legal Covid restrictions including social distancing and compulsory mask wearing lifted across England today.

Yesterday it was revealed that Charles will only wear a mask when Government advice dictates that he should do so.

Prince Charles will also launch the new Prince of Wales Nursing Cadet Scheme while in Devon (pictured on a tour of some of the Cathedral's historic treasures by The Very Reverend Jonathan Greener, Dean of Exeter)

Prince Charles will also launch the new Prince of Wales Nursing Cadet Scheme while in Devon (pictured on a tour of some of the Cathedral’s historic treasures by The Very Reverend Jonathan Greener, Dean of Exeter)

Keen reader Camilla, who recently launched a book club, admires the array of children's literature on offer as she picks up a candle

Keen reader Camilla, who recently launched a book club, admires the array of children’s literature on offer as she picks up a candle

An animated Duchess of Cornwall speaks with Exeter Cathedral staff during their visit on day one of their South West tour

An animated Duchess of Cornwall speaks with Exeter Cathedral staff during their visit on day one of their South West tour

Founded in 1050, the Cathedral continues to offer daily Christian worship and choral music, alongside its roles as a community hub, heritage destination and venue for concerts and events. Pictured: the Cap of Maintenance at Exeter Cathedral

Founded in 1050, the Cathedral continues to offer daily Christian worship and choral music, alongside its roles as a community hub, heritage destination and venue for concerts and events. Pictured: the Cap of Maintenance at Exeter Cathedral

Founded in 1050, the Cathedral continues to offer daily Christian worship and choral music, alongside its roles as a community hub, heritage destination and venue for concerts and events. Pictured: the Cap of Maintenance at Exeter Cathedral

A Palace source told The Mail on Sunday: ‘This will be the first time in 18 months that we are seeing a return to normality. We’ll be looking forwards, not backwards. 

‘This is the first time the Prince has been to a location inside and won’t be wearing a mask because it’s a large area where people will be social distancing and it will be the first day of the new rules.

‘When the rules state that a mask should be worn, then the Prince will wear one but not otherwise.’

The Duchess of Cornwall is known to dislike wearing a mask – despite owning an array of colourful options.

This is the first time the Prince has been to a location inside and won’t be wearing a mask because it's a large area where people will be social distancing and it will be the first day of the new rules, according to a Palace source

This is the first time the Prince has been to a location inside and won’t be wearing a mask because it's a large area where people will be social distancing and it will be the first day of the new rules, according to a Palace source

This is the first time the Prince has been to a location inside and won’t be wearing a mask because it’s a large area where people will be social distancing and it will be the first day of the new rules, according to a Palace source

The Duchess of Cornwall is known to dislike wearing a mask - despite owning an array of colourful options. During a visit to the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama in Cardiff earlier this month, she told a student: 'I can’t wait to get rid of this!'

The Duchess of Cornwall is known to dislike wearing a mask – despite owning an array of colourful options. During a visit to the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama in Cardiff earlier this month, she told a student: ‘I can’t wait to get rid of this!’

For the first time in months, the royals' trip was made public in advance; during the pandemic, visits have been kept secret to prevent crowds congregating

For the first time in months, the royals' trip was made public in advance; during the pandemic, visits have been kept secret to prevent crowds congregating

For the first time in months, the royals’ trip was made public in advance; during the pandemic, visits have been kept secret to prevent crowds congregating

During a visit to the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama in Cardiff earlier this month, she told a student: ‘I can’t wait to get rid of this!’

However, Freedom Day has been branded ‘disaster day’ by stricken businesses today as self-isolating Boris Johnson faces fresh demands to dump farcical test and trace rules to quell the ‘pingdemic’.

The PM is marking the grand unlocking alone at Chequers after performing a comical U-turn from initially saying he and Rishi Sunak would dodge quarantine despite having met Health Secretary Sajid Javid – who has tested positive.

But the lifting of almost all legal restrictions have merely fuelled fears about spiking cases bringing the economy grinding to a halt, as more and more people are doomed to house arrest.

The Prince of Wales during a visit to Exeter Cathedral in Devon to hear about restoration work and meet with community groups

The Prince of Wales during a visit to Exeter Cathedral in Devon to hear about restoration work and meet with community groups

Experts estimate around 1.7million people are still self-isolating after being ‘pinged’ by the NHS Covid app or contacted by Test and Trace.

Many firms say their sites are having to open with reduced hours or shut completely because up to a quarter of staff are off as a precautionary measure – with scientists warning the situation could spiral as the UK faces up to 200,000 cases a day. 

Freedom Day came as daily cases hit 50,000 – a result of the rapidly spreading Delta variant – and rising hospitalisations. 

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