Prince Charles meets with postal worker dressed as Santa Claus as he visits Royal Mail office 

Prince Charles appeared in high spirits today as he met with postal workers dressed in festive costumes while visiting a Royal Mail office.

The Prince of Wales, 71, wore a turquoise face covering as he made the visit to the delivery office in Cirencester to meet with staff about their efforts during the Covid-19 crisis in the run-up to Christmas.

The royal was seen chatting with staff throughout the facility, taking a moment to speak with one worker who was dressed as Santa Claus, and another who was wearing an elf costume.

His visit comes days after Royal Mail and leading retailers admitted to worrying delays, leaving shoppers facing Christmas delivery mayhem. 

Prince Charles, 71, met with postal workers dressed in festive costumes today during a visit to the Royal Mail delivery office

Prince Charles, 71, met with postal workers dressed in festive costumes today during a visit to the Royal Mail delivery office 

The royal donned a face covering as he spoke with a member of staff wearing a Santa Claus costume

The royal donned a face covering as he spoke with a member of staff wearing a Santa Claus costume

The Prince of Wales was offered a tour of the facility, where he spoke with staff about their work during the Covid-19 crisis

The Prince of Wales was offered a tour of the facility, where he spoke with staff about their work during the Covid-19 crisis 

Prince Charles appeared in good spirits as he donned a smart grey suit and matched his blue face covering with his tie for the appearance. 

Over the weekend, Royal Mail acknowledged delays in its services due to ‘exceptionally high volumes’.

It also blamed the longer delivery times on social distancing rules in place in local mail centres and delivery offices. 

A shift to online shopping means there are 200million more parcels in the postal and courier system this year. 

Prince Charles, who appeared in high spirits during the visit, opted to wear his turquoise face covering for the occasion

Prince Charles, who appeared in high spirits during the visit, opted to wear his turquoise face covering for the occasion

Prince Charles, who appeared in high spirits during the visit, opted to wear his turquoise face covering for the occasion

At one stage the royal could be seen laughing enthusiastically as he met with members of staff at the postal office

At one stage the royal could be seen laughing enthusiastically as he met with members of staff at the postal office 

Royal Mail has taken on 33,000 seasonal workers, while Amazon UK has recruited 20,000 staff, Hermes 13,000 and Yodel, 3,000.

The royal’s visit comes after a body language expert said the royal’s Christmas photo showed a ‘quietly intimate’  moment for the couple.

In the charming new photograph, which was taken in the early autumn by a member of the royal staff, the Prince of Wales could be seen with his arm around Camilla, as they share a laugh in the beautiful gardens of their Scottish home of Birkhall. 

Speaking to FEMAIL, body language expert Judi James said the snap shows the royal couple relaxing in a ‘retirement pose’ and ‘locked in a bubble of their own mutual affection.’ 

Prince Charles visited the Royal Mail in Cirencester to recognise the vital public services that the countrys postal workers provide, especially during the coronavirus pandemic and in the run-up to Christmas

Prince Charles visited the Royal Mail in Cirencester to recognise the vital public services that the countrys postal workers provide, especially during the coronavirus pandemic and in the run-up to Christmas

The royal met with staff members during his tour of the organisation earlier today and heard about their social distancing efforts

The royal met with staff members during his tour of the organisation earlier today and heard about their social distancing efforts 

She said Charles ‘wanted to signal he has finally found a sense of peace’, while Camilla took on more of a ‘protector’ role and appeared ‘more confident’ in the photo.

Where will the royal family spend Christmas? 

Charles and Camilla: Understood to be spending it alone at their home of Highgrove but will see Queen and Phillip ‘at some point’ during the holidays.

They will also see Camilla’s children Tom Parker Bowles and Laura Lopes at some point.

Prince William and Kate Middleton: Could spend Christmas at Anmer Hall, Norfolk or  with the Middletons in Berkshire.

The Wessexes: Prince Edward and Sophie are likely to spend Christmas at their home of Bagshot Park in Surrey.

The Yorks: Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson are likely to spend Christmas with Princess Eugenie and Princess Beatrice, as well as their husbands Jack Brooksbank and Edo Mapelli Mozzi. They may spend Christmas at the Royal Lodge in Windsor.

Princess Anne: The Princess Royal may spend Christmas with her children Zara Tindall, who is expecting her third child, and Peter Philips and their families on their estate of Gatcombe.   

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle: The Sussexes are spending Christmas in California.

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Prince Charles and Camilla opted for a candid shot for their festive card, with the Duchess seen in jeans, a pink shirt and a black blazer. 

Meanwhile, the Prince of Wales also looked relaxed in an open collared shirt with a pair of light chinos and a beige blazer. 

They have spent much of the year at their Scottish residence, choosing to spend the first lockdown at their home in Aberdeenshire and returning for a summer break.

Like the Queen, who is isolating at Windsor Castle, they have operated throughout the year with a reduced household. 

They enjoyed spending the first lockdown at Birkhall but their stay attracted criticism from some SNP politicians because Charles was revealed to have developed coronavirus symptoms soon after arriving.

Sources were keen to stress that he did not know he had the virus when they travelled there. 

Meanwhile they also enjoyed an extended break in Balmoral over the late summer months.

The pair began their annual holiday to Scotland in early August, with Prince Charles reportedly extending his trip seven days longer than planned so he can continue to pursue one of his favourite hobbies.

Taking to Twitter at the time, royal photographer royal Tim Rooke claimed a local told him Charles ‘has decided to stay up for an extra week because the fishing is so good’. 

Fly fishing is a favoured pastime of several members of the royal family, with the late Queen mother a fan of the sport, while Prince Philip has also been known to take part in the activity while at Balmoral. 

Charles inherited Birkhall from his beloved grandmother, the Queen Mother, upon her death in 2002 and now enjoys spending summers at the residence with his wife the Duchess of Cornwall.

The beautiful gardens are a particular source of joy for the famously green-fingered prince who has described the garden as a ‘special place’ to him personally.  

Prince Charles appeared in high spirits as he met with postal staff and was offered a tour of the facility

Prince Charles appeared in high spirits as he met with postal staff and was offered a tour of the facility 

At one stage the royal spoke with staff members as he peaked through a dispatch window at the post office

At one stage the royal spoke with staff members as he peaked through a dispatch window at the post office 

Last year, the couple chose a picture of their visit to Cuba as they drove through Havana in a vintage British 1953 black MG TD, with the first in line to the throne taking the wheel, while his wife waves to the crowds.

The photo, which sees them both wearing sunglasses as they arrived at Cuban capital’s famous John Lennon Park earlier this year, was taken during their tour of the island March 2019.  

The unveiling of the festive photographs comes as the royal family prepares for Christmas after their traditional festive celebration was cancelled. 

Her Majesty, 94, and Prince Philip, 99, traditionally spend the festive season with close family on their Norfolk estate. 

Meanwhile he appeared to share a laugh with a member of staff dressed up as Santa Claus during the visit today

Meanwhile he appeared to share a laugh with a member of staff dressed up as Santa Claus during the visit today 

But it was announced last week that this year they will forgo the festivities and remain at Windsor Castle, where they have been isolating with a ‘bubble’ of staff since October due to the ongoing pandemic. 

It means the couple face spending Christmas Day without any of their four children for the first time since 1949, when the then Princess Elizabeth left a one-year-old Charles in the UK so she could be with Prince Philip in Malta. 

Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall will spend Christmas at Highgrove, in Gloucestershire, although they expect to see the Queen and Prince Philip at Windsor at some point over the festive season. Camilla will also spend time with her family.

In Tier 2 regions, like Windsor, up to six people from different households are able to mix outdoors. This means the Queen and Prince Philip could meet with family members for horse riding or walks in the grounds of Windsor Castle. 

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