Prince Charles shares namaste bow with Baroness Floella Benjamin

Prince Charles shares namaste bow with Baroness Floella Benjamin amid coronavirus outbreak as former children’s TV presenter collects damehood at Buckingham Palace

  • Baroness Floella Benjamin, 70, collected damehood from Prince Charles today
  • They both exchanged a Namaste greeting at ceremony amid coronavirus crisis 
  • The beloved children’s TV presenter was recognised for her services to charity 
  • Lib Dem life peer has dedicated over 40 years to campaigning for young people   
  • Coronavirus symptoms: what are they and should you see a doctor?

Prince Charles shared a Namaste bow with Baroness Floella Benjamin today amid the coronavirus pandemic, as she collected her damehood at Buckingham Palace. 

The pair were spotted exchanging the greeting, which avoids any unnecessary touching of hands, during the investiture ceremony.

Known to millions as the host of Play School and Play Away, Baroness Benjamin, a beloved children’s TV presenter, was recognised for her services to charity in the New Year Honours List. 

Baroness Floella Benjamin, 70, received her damehood at Buckingham Palace today from Prince Charles, both pictured. The pair exchanged a Namaste greeting (right) 

The beloved children’s TV presenter, pictured, was recognised for her services to charity. She has dedicated other 40 years to campaigning for young people and supporting charities

The Liberal Democrat life peer has dedicated over 40 years to campaigning for young people and supports charities including Barnardo’s, Sickle Cell Society and Beating Bowel Cancer.

After receiving her damehood, the 70-year-old, from London, said: ‘You get such a buzz from giving back and making a difference, changing the world, and to get an honour like this after these years it’s like wonderful recognition.

‘Today, it’s giving me a wonderful feeling in my heart. I haven’t done charity work for any ulterior motive but only to change people’s lives.

‘To get it, it is like wow, how exciting. But I’m still thinking: what more can I do? To me, it doesn’t end here.’

A ‘huge admirer’ of Prince Charles, Baroness Benjamin said she was ‘thrilled’ to receive her damehood from him today.

She said: ‘I adore the Prince of Wales because he is a man of vision and over the years, I’ve always written to him when it comes to the environment. He is just so with it. 

‘He has had to take a lot of criticism over the years but has been proved right, and all the people that criticised him have come around to his way of thinking.

‘I was thrilled to have got it from him this morning because I’m a huge admirer of him, and all the things he is promoting.’

Baroness Benjamin, who has recently been in Barbados supporting charity Transplant Links, added: ‘I told him about going to Barbados and he said, ‘I love the Carribean, especially Barbados’.’

Born on the Caribbean island of Trinidad before moving to the UK, Baroness Benjamin has appeared in several stage musicals, including Jesus Christ Superstar and Black Mikado.

A ‘huge admirer’ of Prince Charles, Baroness Benjamin said she was ‘thrilled’ to receive her damehood from him, describing the Prince of Wales as a ‘man of vision’ 

The Prince of Wales gave a Namaste greeting to Helen Grime, left, a Scottish composer, and Michael Prendergast, right, the original founding member of Merseybeat group The Searchers 

A 12-year stint on Play School, a BBC programme for youngsters, made her one of the most recognisable children’s TV presenters in the country.

In 2010, she was introduced to the House of Lords and given the full title of Baroness Benjamin, of Beckenham in the County of Kent.

On Monday, Baroness Benjamin joined members of the royal family at a Commonwealth service held at Westminster Abbey – which she said was ‘absolutely incredible’.

She said: ‘I always go to the ceremony because it’s a coming together of nations and to make every nation in the Commonwealth feel good.

‘And I have always, always supported the Commonwealth because the Commonwealth started when I was born 71 years ago, so I feel a Commonwealth baby.

‘I feel a huge connection with the Commonwealth and I am glad it is now taught in schools, especially for the Windrush generation who are now here, to feel that they are part of a great nation of countries together.’

Baroness Benjamin also addressed criticism of the word ’empire’ in the honours system, saying it was ‘important’ to understand the history of the term – after Labour leadership hopeful Lisa Nandy called for it to be removed.

Baroness Benjamin said: ‘George V said, why don’t we have an honour where it could be women honoured, become more inclusive, and more people across the British Empire would also be included, other countries.

The Queen doled out handshakes at Buckingham Palace yesterday, despite the fact an aide confirmed she had decided to stop shaking hands with the public for the foreseeable future 

‘It’s not just what you think of the British going out and conquering people, George V wanted to make it inclusive. And that’s what it is.’

She said that she was having conversations about how to ‘modernise the word’, adding: ‘But I think if people realise why it’s called empire, they would realise because it is to be inclusive, not to say, ‘we are a great thing’.

‘I think that’s important. I feel proud to receive this, because it’s telling you that the work you have done for your country and your society has been acknowledged and recognised. 

‘And I feel completely blessed and recognised today.’

With cases of coronavirus in the UK on the rise, members of the Royal Family are being advised to take precautions – but some are taking heed of the advice more than others. 

Prince Charles was pictured offering up his hand as he arrived at the London Palladium for the annual Prince’s Trust Awards 2020.

Charles was seen quickly remembering to give a Namaste gesture, before swiftly slipping back into old habits as he went onto greet further members of the organisation.

At Cheltenham the Duchess of Cornwall took precautions to protect herself against the virus, wearing a pair of leather gloves to shake hands with people she met. 

Meanwhile it was business of usual for the Queen, who doled out handshakes at Buckingham Palace yesterday. This is despite the fact an aide confirmed to the Mail she had decided to stop shaking hands with members of the public for the foreseeable future as a matter of ‘personal preference’. 

Audiences are brief one-on-one meetings with the Queen which happen regularly throughout her working week, and she usually greets guests with a handshake.

But yesterday an aide confirmed to the Mail that while the royal household was still following government advice, which does not ban handshaking or large gatherings, it was ‘currently Her Majesty’s personal preference’ not to shake hands during the Coronavirus outbreak.

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