Charles hails Commonwealth virus response

Prince Charles has paid tribute to the way the Commonwealth has responded to coronavirus.
Prince Charles has paid tribute to the way the Commonwealth has responded to coronavirus.

Prince Charles has paid tribute to the courage shown throughout the Commonwealth in response to the coronavirus pandemic, in a broadcast to air hours before Prince Harry and Meghan Markle talk about stepping down from royal duties.

The prince was joined by other royals, including his elder son and heir Prince William, in talking about the impact of COVID-19.

The television program will mark Commonwealth Day, dedicated to countries that maintain links with Britain, including Australia.

"The coronavirus pandemic has affected every country of the Commonwealth, cruelly robbing countless people of their lives and livelihoods, disrupting our societies and denying us the human connections which we so dearly cherish," Charles said in the message.

"Amidst such heartbreaking suffering, however, the extraordinary determination, courage and creativity with which people have responded has been an inspiration to us all."

Charles's message will feature on British television on Sunday hours before an interview with his younger son Prince Harry and Harry's wife Meghan is shown in the US.

Excerpts of the pre-recorded Oprah Winfrey interview have shown Meghan, 39, saying she is "ready to talk" about her experience of marrying into Britain's royals in 2018.

The queen's grandson and his wife stunned the royal family in January last year by announcing they would step down from their official royal roles to forge a new, independent life in California.

The split was confirmed last month, and, in the last week, the couple and Buckingham Palace have engaged in an increasingly bitter war of words, amid claims of lies, bullying and smears.

It also comes as the queen's 99-year old husband Prince Philip is in hospital in London after undergoing a procedure to treat a heart condition.

Commonwealth Day is usually marked with a service held at London's Westminster Abbey, but it was cancelled this year due to the pandemic.

Australian Associated Press