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Charles extends warm welcome to tourists as Queen’s official residences reopen

The prince recorded a message as Windsor Castle and the Palace of Holyroodhouse opened their doors after a four-month closure.

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Guardsmen from the Queen’s Royal Hussars march past St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle (Jonathan Brady/PA)

Guardsmen from the Queen’s Royal Hussars march past St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle (Jonathan Brady/PA)

Guardsmen from the Queen’s Royal Hussars march past St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle (Jonathan Brady/PA)

The Prince of Wales has welcomed visitors back to the Queen’s official residences after they reopened to the public.

Heir to the throne Charles recorded an audio message for tourists at Windsor Castle, the Palace of Holyroodhouse, the Royal Mews at Buckingham Palace, and the Queen’s Galleries in London and Edinburgh.

The prince, who is chairman of the Royal Collection Trust, wished those exploring the tourist attractions a “wonderful visit” and told them they would be warmly welcomed in the recording, which features on the residences’ multi-media guides.

The sites closed temporarily four months ago during lockdown, but the charity is hoping the income from new ticket sales will boost its finances as it faces staff redundancies and predicted losses of £30 million.

Visitors – some wearing masks – were pictured queuing to enter Windsor in Berkshire on Thursday morning as they waited for their timed-entry slots.

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Visitors queue to enter Windsor Castle, which has reopened to the public (Jonathan Brady/PA)

Visitors queue to enter Windsor Castle, which has reopened to the public (Jonathan Brady/PA)

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Visitors queue to enter Windsor Castle, which has reopened to the public (Jonathan Brady/PA)

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Visitors take a selfie at Windsor Castle (Jonathan Brady/PA)

Visitors take a selfie at Windsor Castle (Jonathan Brady/PA)

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Visitors take a selfie at Windsor Castle (Jonathan Brady/PA)

Scheduled tickets bought online in advance at www.rct.uk/tickets have been introduced in order to manage visitor numbers.

Charles said in his message: “2020 has been a year unlike any other.

“As we emerge months away from loved ones and trying times, I am delighted that we can start to look forward to enjoying so many of the things that we might have taken for granted before.

“The joy of art, learning new things, exploring magnificent buildings are all at the heart of what the Royal Collection Trust is about.”

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A young visitor marches at Windsor Castle (Jonathan Brady/PA)

A young visitor marches at Windsor Castle (Jonathan Brady/PA)

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A young visitor marches at Windsor Castle (Jonathan Brady/PA)

He added: “We’re all rightly more cautious than before and therefore much work has been done to help ensure that not only is your visit enjoyable but that it is also safe.

“Whether it is wandering around an exhibition, walking through the gardens or exploring the residences’ interiors, you will be warmly welcomed and well looked after.

“I do hope therefore that you have a wonderful visit.”

The palaces, galleries and Royal Collection Trust shops will open five days a week for the foreseeable future, remaining closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

PA