Injured troops and NHS patients were given a Christmas boost as Prince Charles paid a special visit to a Birmingham hospital.
The visit to Queen Elizabeth Hospital, in Edgbaston was aimed at raising morale among military patients, many of whom have recently returned from battle.
But other patients, including 90-year-old Eileen Bartropp, also enjoyed a surprise treat as the Prince of Wales stopped to talk in the foyer. I am due to go home soon so this was a wonderful surprise,” said Eileen, who was taking a break from being treated on Ward 518 in a wheelchair.
“I popped out for a spin around and there was Prince Charles talking to me, saying hello. I’d like lunch with him now.”
After well-wishers greeted the Prince, he continued to meet 16 military patients across the hospital’s neurological and trauma wards.
Prince Charles, who holds the ranks of Admiral in the Royal Navy, Air Chief Marshal in the Royal Air Force and General in the Army, was wearing a Mercian Regiment tie and lapel pins representing the Army Air Corps, Parachute Regiment and Gurkhas on his camel coat.
Some of the injured soldiers, including a Gurkha, have returned from Afghanistan and as recently as three days ago.
Senior trauma nurse Victoria Mulleady, Captain Sarah Thom and Wing Commander Teresa Griffiths welcomed the Prince, just five months after his last visit.
Wing Commander Griffiths, in charge of 200 military nurses, said: “Prince Charles is incredibly human and spends a lot of time sitting with the patients and families. They get a huge amount of support from that.
“The Prince has a huge understanding of where they have been. He normally overruns on time.
“Some of the soldiers have been in hospital for a few of his visits and he takes a personal interest in them.
“A lot of people think Christmas is a time of festivities and fun but for our patients, it is a very difficult time. They are pleased to be alive but it’s very difficult and so a visit like this is a morale boost.”