In light of the extra work undertaken by the postal service during the pandemic, The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall have written to all the staff at Royal Mail, commending their ‘dedication, resilience and hard work’.
The letter, which you can see below, was collected from Birkhall on Tuesday 5th May by Neil Martin, a veteran local postie of 36 years.
Respecting the social distancing rules, postman Neil, collected the letter from an outside bench as Prince Charles and Camilla waved from their doorstep.
The royal couple, who led the nation in a two-minute silence to mark VE Day 75 on Friday, spoke of how the local postman or woman is a trusted figure in the community. They also mention how Royal Mail is enabling people to stay connected during the lockdown, sharing letters and cards to those they cannot meet.
“For more than five hundred years, Royal Mail has linked people from across these islands, and far beyond. The dedication, resilience and hard work of Royal Mail employees, in all parts of the operation, have long been qualities that we have both greatly admired, but the incredible value of what you do has never been more important.
“In recent weeks, we have heard that many people have taken the time to write a letter, or a card, to those from whom they are separated. Receiving such a personal message at this difficult and anxious time can mean an enormous amount. We feel sure that a very large number of these special greetings will be treasured for years to come. They may even become a valuable resource for social historians in the future.
“Postmen and postwomen are trusted figures in our local communities. They are a constant presence in an ever-changing world. For some people, they are a point of daily human contact; a friendly, familiar face.
“During these uncertain and worrying weeks, we are aware of just how incredibly hard you have all worked to overcome many challenges, adapted to new ways of working, and possibly had to overcome your own personal fears. Many of you, we know, have gone above and beyond what is normally expected of you. We have heard wonderful stories of postmen and postwomen checking on older and vulnerable residents, raising fUnds for good causes, even wearing fancy dress costumes to raise a smile…
“Today, as many people – ourselves included – are obliged to stay at home, Royal Mail plays an absolutely vital role in keeping family and friends in touch with one another. For that, we can only say how deeply grateful we are and send you our kindest wishes.
“On behalf of everyone, from all walks of life, who relies on Royal Mail for the delivery of letters and parcels, this brings you heartfelt thanks – and a big “thumbs up” from us both!”
It was hand-signed by Prince Charles and Camilla.
Prince Charles and Camilla previously recognised the work of the Royal Mail when they marked the 500th anniversary of the postal service in September 2016 at a reception, with some of its longest-serving employees.
— Clarence House (@ClarenceHouse) September 6, 2016
The Prince has also recorded a reading of the letter, which will be broadcast on Royal Mail’s internal radio stations, and available at outlets such as Spotify.
Royal Mail began in 1516, when Henry VIII knighted Brian Tuke, the first Master of the Posts. Tuke had the influence and authority to establish key post towns across the country and build a formal postal network. Letters were carried between ‘posts’ by boys on horseback, being handed over to the local postmaster; hence the name ‘post’.
By 1635, Charles I authorised the letter office as well as the maintenance of six post roads.
The letter comes after the launch of Royal Mail’s ‘Thumbs Up For Your Postie’ campaign. The postal company wants to encourage customers to show their appreciation for their postie by giving them a ‘thumbs up’ – from a safe two metres distance, approximately the size of a traditional red postbox.
The initiative is a simple way for the public to say thanks and stay connected with their local postmen and women, while respecting the Government’s social distancing rules. Royal Mail also says that ‘giving a thumbs up is also a handy reminder not to reach out to try and take parcels direct from postmen and women to ensure contact free delivery’.