Labour calls for inquiry into lobbyist involvement during Covid

Labour has called for an inquiry into whether lobbyists employed by the government during the Covid response benefited from privileged information.

It comes after the Sunday Times reported that one lobbyist, who had worked on NHS Test and Trace, went on to share information with clients.

After leaving his post he reportedly shared sensitive lockdown information.

The Department of Health and Social Care said all conflicts of interests were declared before he was appointed.

But Labour’s deputy leader, Angela Rayner, has said the Sunday Times’ allegation was “the latest in a long line of revelations regarding businesses and individuals with close links to the Conservative Party that have adversely affected public trust during this pandemic”.

According to the Sunday Times newspaper, the chairman of lobbying firm Portland Communications, George Pascoe-Watson, was hired to work on NHS Test and Trace in April. The DHSC confirmed it had hired Mr Pascoe-Watson for six months as an unpaid adviser.

The Sunday Times claimed that Mr Pascoe-Watson took part in meetings with Health Secretary Matt Hancock and Test and Trace chief Dido Harding over how to communicate policies to the public.

It alleged that after Mr Pascoe-Watson – who represents pharmaceutical companies, weapons manufacturers and banks – left the post on 7 October, he passed information onto paying clients ahead of the second national lockdown announcement at the end of October.

Mr Pascoe-Watson confirmed he emailed clients in the days after he left, but said: “The information shared with clients on 15 and 29 October was in no way connected to the Test and Trace calls, in which I was no longer a participant.”

He added to the Guardian that the information had come from “multiple conversations had by our consultants”.

After the story was published, Labour’s deputy leader, Angela Rayner, wrote to Cabinet Secretary Simon Case, demanding an urgent inquiry into “how lobbyists and their clients benefited from this vital information before the public knew”.

She said if the allegations were true, information was passed on at a time when “the rest of the country waited anxiously for government announcements about lockdown and whether they could see their families, friends and loved ones”.

Ms Rayner added it was “deeply insulting” to the British public and called for the Cabinet Office to “shine a light on this situation in order to maintain public trust” over the hiring of government advisers.

The SNP joined the call for an inquiry, accusing the government of “rampant cronyism”.

The party’s deputy leader in Westminster, Kirsten Oswald, said: “There must be a public inquiry into the scandalous way that public money, jobs and privileged access have been handed out by the Tory government during this crisis.”

A spokesman for the DHSC said: “As part of an unprecedented response to this global pandemic we rightly have drawn on the expertise of a number of private sector partners who provided advice and expertise to assist in the government’s vital work.

“This included helping establish the largest diagnostic network in British history and a test and trace system used by tens of millions of people.

“As a result of public and private sector organisations working together at pace, we were able to strengthen our response to the pandemic so we are better prepared for the challenges of the coming months.”

Covid-19: Boris Johnson self-isolating after contact tests positive

Boris Johnson is self-isolating after coming into contact with someone who tested positive for Covid-19, Downing Street has said.

The PM was contacted by NHS Test and Trace but is not showing symptoms.

BBC political correspondent Nick Eardley said the PM spent about 35 minutes with Ashfield MP Lee Anderson, who has since tested positive.

In April, Mr Johnson spent three nights in intensive care after falling ill with the virus.

He later said it “could have gone either way” and thanked healthcare workers for saving his life.

In a statement, a No 10 spokesman said: “The prime minister has today been notified by NHS Test and Trace that he is required to self-isolate as a contact of someone who has tested positive for Covid-19.

“The prime minister will follow the rules and is self-isolating.

“He will carry on working from Downing Street, including on leading the government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.

“The PM is well and does not have any symptoms of Covid-19.”

Conservative MP Mr Anderson posted on his Facebook page to say he was self-isolating.

“On Friday I lost my sense of taste at the same time my wife had a bad headache,” he said. “I had no cough, no fever and felt well. We both had a test on Saturday and the result came in Sunday morning.

“My wife and I both tested positive. I feel absolutely fine and my biggest concern is my wife who is in the shielded group.

“But we are both feeling good.”

Shoeburyness stranded car rescued as high tide rolls in

A stranded car had to be towed off a beach minutes before a rising tide threatened to sweep it away.

Two people in the vehicle called 999 to say they had driven on to wet sand and got stuck in Shoeburyness, near Southend Coastguard Station, on Sunday.

The HM Coastguard said the driver was given details of vehicle recovery firms while it went to keep a watch on the situation and help if needed.

It said the car was moved “15 minutes prior to the tide reaching” it.

It added that while the HM Coastguard was the fourth emergency service, “contrary to popular belief… that does not include vehicle recovery and breakdown service”.

Stuck inside? Our presenters offer their cultural picks

With England in lockdown again, and many others parts of the UK enduring severe restrictions, people are looking to film, books, music, online art, podcasts and more for their cultural kicks.

Here, BBC presenters and journalists share their lockdown picks. It’s an eclectic list of suggestions for where to look next if you fancy some inspiration.

Veteran broadcaster Mark Radcliffe presents BBC Radio 2’s Folk Show and 6 Music’s weekend chat and music show Radcliffe and Maconie .

The Trial Of The Chicago 7 (Netflix)

I like a courtroom drama, I must say. For people who don’t know the Chicago 7, they were students and hippies and anti-Vietnam protesters who picketed at the 1968 Democratic Party Convention and were arrested for inciting riots.

If you remember that year, it was a really highly-charged time. Martin Luther King was assassinated in April, and then Bobby Kennedy in June – so this is an extraordinary snapshot of those times. It still has a resonance, particularly in how the one black defendant is treated. In the time of Black Lives Matter and the George Floyd protests, it reminds you that not everything has changed, by a long way.

Shuggie Bain by Douglas Stuart (Picador books)

This is set in the time of Thatcherism, and it’s a tragic tale of this young lad Shuggie Bain, who is protecting and caring for an alcoholic mother, living in extreme poverty. It’s rather Thomas Hardy-esque, in that you know everyone is doomed to disappointment or death, but it feels very real. And like the film, one suspects life hasn’t changed very much for a lot of people.

The novel is nominated for the Booker Prize, although I don’t generally take that as a massive recommendation. I have certainly brought Booker-winning novels and thought they were dreadful.

The Queen’s Gambit (Netflix)

Anya Taylor-Joy plays Beth Harman, who’s in an orphanage at the beginning of the film, and is intrigued by the janitor who plays chess. He gradually agrees to teach her and it turns out she’s an absolute prodigy. It’s based on a novel by someone called Walter Tevis but it feels like it ought to be true. It’s about the connections you make as an orphan – friendships and connections and adoption. And there’s a lot of chess.

In fact, we started playing chess at home, inspired by it, and my wife is miles better than me and she can see several moves ahead. We don’t play anymore. It got too annoying.

The Asian Network presenter has hosted its breakfast show since 2017, having joined the station in 2015 from community radio.

Strictly Come Dancing (BBC One, iPlayer)

Watching my next door neighbour Clara [Amfo] absolutely bossing it on screen is amazing. I’m a huge fan of BBC One’s Strictly Come Dancing anyway, but seeing Clara shine like a Queen is great. Rooting for her no doubt. And I usually find anything music or dance related to be therapeutic for me. It’s fun, an easy watch and it’s a great way to wind down. Grab some munchies and sit on the sofa while having your own party. It’s perfect.

Made In Heaven (Amazon Prime)

I’ve also just finished watching season one of Made In Heaven. A couple of colleagues have been meaning to get me into it and now I’m hooked. It’s more of a drama series, but it’s so good and keeps you on the edge of your seat at the end of every episode. Can’t wait to start the second season.

Sister Sister (Netflix)

And thirdly, I’m watching Sister Sister, a 1990s US sitcom about twins Tia and Tamera who were separated at birth and reunite 14 years later. It’s brought back my youth. And you can never get enough. If you grew up watching Tia and Tamera, you already know how good it is. If you fancy a giggle, put them on.”

DJ Friction has been on the BBC airwaves since 2002, and is now presenting the Asian Network’s evening show.

Space videos (YouTube)

It’s the biggest kind of escapism – forget pandemics, let’s talk about 1,000-year journeys to other galaxies.

He devours YouTube series by scientists and futurists John Michael Godier and Isaac Arthur, who use science fact to examine what might actually be possible beyond Earth.

They’ll swing between stuff that’s happening in our solar system to real mad stuff like, what will the universe look like a trillion years from now? And then they’ll break it down using real physics and real science.

The Real Housewives of America (Sky, ITV Be, Amazon Prime Video)

I don’t watch much TV or reality shows,” says Friction. “But I fell into this hole of watching The Real Housewives of Atlanta and The Real Housewives of Potomac. It wasn’t until the summer that I went, ‘Wait a minute, they’re the only two reality shows from that franchise that feature black women. Every other show features white women.

I’m subconsciously dealing with Black Lives Matter, race and everything that’s happening this year via these reality shows. Believe me, I’ve fallen so deep into them. Anyone who asks a question about the seasons or the episodes, I have the answer.

The Beatles

Friction has been rediscovering The Beatles by listening to all their albums back-to-back again.

“I just got back into it and thought, my God, how did these guys write nearly every genre of music that we’re still listening to? And you’re telling me they released The White Album and Yellow Submarine and Sgt Pepper within the space of 18 months? It’s ridiculous.”

Will Gompertz has been arts editor for BBC News since 2009 and before that was a director at the Tate Gallery.

What I Love (podcast)

I’m loving this podcast, presented by the award-winning theatre director Ian Rickson. It has a simple format: one guest with whom Rickson has worked selects three things he or she loves. Chiwetel Ejiofor included a Michael Kiwanuka song, Kae Tempest picked a book by William Blake. Good listening.

Strata: William Smith’s Geological Maps (Thames & Hudson)

Some books are beautiful, others are enlightening. Strata is both. Packed with exquisite illustrations, it presents the work of William Smith, a 17th Century geologist, who was the first person to comprehensively map the earth beneath our feet. It’s the best non-fiction book I’ve read in a long time.

Call My Agent (Netflix)

French TV doesn’t get that much attention for some reason – but they produce some great programmes. Spiral is the best police procedural on telly, while Call My Agent is the perfect lockdown escape: uptight actor’s agents dealing with uptight actors in a Paris office where they end up either bickering or sleeping with each other. Or both. Tres bon!

Musician Hannah Peel presents late-night Radio 3 show Night Tracks, which ranges from classical to contemporary music. She was Emmy-nominated last year for her soundtrack for HBO’s Games of Thrones: The Last Watch.

Notes On Blindness (Download, Netflix)

This is a documentary about the writer John Hull, who went blind just before the birth of his son and started to make a diary of audio cassettes. In the film you hear all the actual recording, and it’s just incredible.

You’re immersed in a world of sound, instead of being totally bombarded with visual information. It sounds like it should be a podcast, but it really works as a film – delving into the mind and the body and dreams and memory. I think it’s a masterpiece.

Bandcamp (Independent music store)

I’m Bandcamp all the way, for everything. They do an amazing thing once a month called Bandcamp Friday, where every artist gets 100% of the profit on their merchandise or downloads or CD sales. It’s the only place that does that in the music industry.

The last thing I bought was a compilation by a wonderful little indie label called Salmon Universe, who put out a lot of ambient, electronic music. I like compilations because you’re led to artists from all across the world, from Ohio to Japan. It’s amazing.

Islands (RTÉ podcast)

This is made by the world-renowned sound recordist Chris Watson, who’s teamed up with the writer/presenter Luke Clancy to take a journey across the atlas of remote islands, from Ross Island to the Galapagos to the possibly mythical isle of HyBrasil.

It’s full of stories and sounds, and it’s beautiful. I just like the way you can use podcasts to express something emotional, rather than factual. So you get a sense of ethereal escapism within that.

Mark has been the BBC’s music reporter since 2015, and presented 6 Music’s History of Video Game Music last year.

Ted Lasso (Apple TV)

After Schitt’s Creek ended, I was desperately searching for a TV show that hit the same sweet spot of belly-laughs and heart-warming humour. This is that show.

Starring Jason Sudeikis, it tells the story of an American Football coach who comes to London to oversee a fictional Premiership team, despite knowing nothing about football. Unbeknownst to him, the club’s owner (played with delicious relish by Hannah Waddingham) is trying to get the team relegated to spite her adulterous husband. I won’t spoil the plot, but the show’s relentlessly optimistic tone is just what I needed in lockdown.

Pikmin 3 Deluxe (Nintendo)

Pikmin isn’t as well-known as Nintendo’s bigger franchises, like Mario and Zelda, but it’s been made with just as much care and attention to detail. You play as a crew of astronauts, stranded on a hostile planet, who have to enlist a crop of plant-like creatures to help them find the missing parts of their spaceship.

You command up to 100 of the little Pikmin, each of whom have different abilities (some are fighters, some are swimmers, others are impervious to electricity) to solve a bunch of increasingly tricky puzzles against a time limit. It’s simultaneously relaxing and panic-inducing; but I’ve been focusing on completing the less stressful challenge mode with my 10-year-old, who just likes throwing the Pikmin around and laughing at their cute noises.

Dua Lipa – Future Nostalgia (Warner Music)

Rush-released at the start of the first lockdown, this is still my favourite record of the year. A sweat-glistened hymn to the dancefloor, it never fails to lift my mood.

The album is getting the live treatment later this month, with a virtual gig that’s been dubbed Studio 2054 – with Dua promising (deep breath) “a kaledioscopic, rocket-fuelled, journey through time, space, mirrorballs, roller discos, bucket hats, belting beats, throbbing basslines and an absolute slam-dunk of the best times in global club culture”. See you there. Hotpants optional.

The BBC Radio 3 broadcaster presents late-night show Unclassified, which showcases music by composers who might have a classical background but also draw from pop, rock, jazz, and experimental music.

Ms Ice Sandwich by Mieko Kawakami (Pushkin Press)

The Japanese author’s novella is evocative but breezy, conversational and unsentimental. She’s dealing with the difficulties and complexity of human life but in a really relatable, warm and humorous way.

It’s about the relationship between an adolescent and their mother. It’s a coming-of-age tale and about the anxieties of being a teenager, but you get to see it from both sides. You can sense what the mother’s feeling as well. She’s a fortune teller and their grandma’s ill upstairs. It’s a family tale about female identity in Japan.

Fat Out Fest (YouTube)

The annual music festival from Salford-based underground and alternative promoters, Fat Out Fest happened live online this year, and they are now putting sets on YouTube every Friday over the next month.

They really do take it to the edge. On 20 November they’re broadcasting Lone Taxidermist – her shows are wild. It’s performance art as well as music. Her new show Marra starts with her singing along to a cattle market. An actual cattle market. Her voice is synced with the auctioneer and Maxine Peake is in the video. It’s out there.

Radiophrenia (Streaming)

Radiophrenia is a Glasgow sound art radio station that’s streaming 24/7 until 22 November. I was listening to an Italian sound artist called Tobia Bandini. He’d interviewed all these people asking for their response to the apocalypse and then he’d mix their stories – they’re all in Italian – with electronic soundscapes.

If you want to tune out of the news then this is a really nice place to escape to. There’s all sorts in there, and a lot of it is just really pleasing and quite hypnotic.

Scotlands unofficial anthem Yes Sir, I Can Boogie re-enters chart

Yes Sir, I Can Boogie has re-entered the charts after becoming Scotland’s unofficial anthem following the team’s win against Serbia on Thursday.

The disco classic by Spanish duo Baccara spent a single week at the top of the UK charts in 1977.

But it has now reached number three, charting higher than the likes of Sam Smith, Miley Cyrus and Ariana Grande.

The song became a favourite with football fans after a video of ecstatic players dancing to the tune went viral.

The footage showed the victorious squad bouncing in their dressing room after their win in Belgrade to clinch a place at the European Championships for the first time in 22 years.

It was originally adopted by fans as a tribute to defender Andrew Considine.

The Aberdeen cult hero – who was called up to the Scotland team for the first time earlier this year at the age of 33 – famously starred in a spoof video of the song on his stag do.

Considine was an unused substitute for Thursday night’s historic match, which saw the Scottish men’s team dramatically qualify for Euro 2020.

But a video tweeted by the Scotland National Team after the game showed him in the thick of the action as he boogie-woogied with team mates including Kieran Tierney, Scott McTominay, Leigh Griffiths and Callum McGregor.

The video immediately caught the imagination of the Tartan Army, with jubilant fans starting a campaign to get the song back to number one in the charts.

The song, which originally sold nearly 18 million copies, was the second-highest new entry at number 3 on Global’s Big Top 40.

Amazon apology over Northern Ireland error

Amazon has apologised after stumbling into a political debate on Twitter on the status of Northern Ireland within the United Kingdom.

The company’s Twitter account told a customer from Northern Ireland he could not watch a programme as it was “only available to subscribers in the UK”.

Chris Jones, a writer from Ballyclare in County Antrim, contacted the company after he was unable to watch a rugby match through the Amazon Prime service.

The response he received has been retweeted thousands of times.

In its response Amazon stated: “We apologize but upon reviewing your location you’re in Northern Ireland.

“Rugby Autumn Nations Cup coverage is exclusively available to Prime members based in the UK. We don’t have the rights to other territories,” the tweet said.

When corrected by Mr Jones the consumer giant maintained its stance on the issue and replied: “Many apologies but, we don’t have the broadcast rights for Ireland or other territories,” the second reply said.

Speaking to BBC News NI, Mr Jones said he had taken to Twitter after customer service on web chat had failed to tackle his rugby-viewing problem.

A back and forth about the issue followed, and Mr Jones explained “they put out the tweet, and when they sent that I just thought it was funny”.

“I thought a few people on my Twitter might find it funny and it snowballed from there.”

He added: “It started off slowly, and then it was picked up by people with bigger follower counts, like comedians David O’Doherty, and Dara Ó Briain.”

Mr Jones said he appreciated that someone working in customer service might not have an intricate knowledge of Northern Ireland’s geopolitical status.

“I have worked in call centres before, and I know what that is like, and it’s a difficult job, so I hope nobody gets in any serious bother over it,” he said.

In the end, the issue was resolved by changing the location of his account from the Republic, where he used to live, to the UK – something he had suspected needed to be done from the start.

Mr Jones added he hoped “it livened up what looked to be a dull Saturday night in the middle of the pandemic”.

Following the back and forth with Mr Jones, the company tweeted an apology.

“We apologise for the error in our colleague’s response.

“Our Prime Video subscribers in Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK can access and watch the Rugby Autumn Nations Cup on Prime Video as part of their subscription.”

The exchange provoked reactions across social media.

Irish comedian Dara Ó Briain responded with the tweet “Amazon Prime have delivered a United Ireland, and before 6pm on the same day.”

Most statin problems caused by mysterious nocebo effect, study suggests

Most of the debilitating effects of statins are not caused by the drug, but by people believing it will make them sick, a UK study suggests.

The phenomenon is known as the “nocebo effect” and may account for 90% of the ill health associated with the cholesterol-lowering drugs.

The British Heart Foundation said the results were undeniable.

The Imperial College London researchers hope the findings will help more people stay on statins.

The drugs are one of the most prescribed in the UK. Nearly eight million people taken them to lower their cholesterol and in turn reduce the risk of heart attacks and stroke.

However, up to a fifth of people stop taking them due to side-effects such as muscle aches, fatigue, feeling sick and joint pain.

The nocebo effect – when expecting a drug to make you worse, genuinely does – has been seen before in medicine.

It is thought to explain the high number of people who think they have penicillin allergies when tests suggest otherwise.

The statin study, which took place at Hammersmith Hospital, focused on 60 patients who had all come off the drugs in the past due to severe side effects.

They were given 12 bottles – four contained a month’s worth of statins, four a month’s worth of dummy pills and four were empty.

Every day for a year they would score, from zero to 100, how bad their symptoms were.

The study showed an average score of:

The Imperial researchers said 90% of the severity of their symptoms was present when the volunteers were taking dummy pills they thought could be a statin.

“The side effects are mainly caused by act of taking tablets, not what is in them,” Dr James Howard, one of the researchers told BBC News.

He added: “It is crazy when you think about it, to most people it is complete incongruous.”

Symptoms were so bad that people had to stop taking the tablets on 71 occasions, including 31 times while they were just taking the dummy pill, during the course of the study.

“Our patients were really suffering, patients are not making it up,” Dr Howard said.

But does it matter either way? Whether it is nocebo effect or the chemicals in the statin themselves, the net result is some people find the drugs intolerable.

“I think it matters a lot,” Dr Howard said. He said talking the results through with patients meant half of them were able to restart their statins.

The nocebo effect is the opposite of the more familiar placebo effect, in which people feel better after being given a therapy, even if there is nothing in it.

The exact reason why statins produce a nocebo effect is unknown. The suspicion is they have achieved a self-fulfilling destiny with media reports, GPs and cardiologists warning of the side-effects of statins.

“If you stopped a man in the street and asked how do you feel about an aspirin or a statin a day, I think people would be much more positive about the aspirin,” Dr Howard said.

The study is being published in the New England Journal of Medicine and presented at the American Heart Association Conference.

Prof Sir Nilesh Samani, the medical director at the British Heart Foundation, said: “These results undeniably show that statins are not responsible for many of the side effects attributed to them.

“Decades of evidence have proven that statins save lives and they should be the first port of call for individuals at high risk of heart attack and stroke.”

Islington baptism service halted by police due to lockdown rules

Police halted a baptism service after about 30 worshippers gathered in breach of national lockdown restrictions.

Regan King, lead pastor at The Angel Church, Islington, defended his decision to hold the service, saying it served “the greater good”.

The pastor agreed to hold a brief “socially distanced outdoor gathering in the church courtyard” after officers halted the service.

Two police vans and a police car parked outside the church’s hall.

Four officers stood at the entrance stopping people from entering.

Mr King, 28, said he wanted to hold the baptism as it was providing “an essential service”.

He said: “We were told not to have a baptism and police began to block people from entering the church, so we decided to make other arrangements.”

Asked why he had decided to breach the restrictions, Mr King said: “Because I believe we serve a greater good.

“This is an essential service that we provide.

“It’s about loving our neighbour, and you can talk with a number of people here who are extremely vulnerable, homeless or on the verge of being very isolated.”

Under current restrictions weddings and baptisms are not allowed to take place. Funerals can be attended by a maximum of 30 people.

A 22-year-old attendee said: “While the restrictions allow people to go to the supermarket to get food, I think there needs to be consideration for spiritual food as well.”

He said that during the outdoor service, worshippers prayed for the “police, press and the people who wanted to shut down the meeting”.

A Met spokesman said officers spoke with the pastor following reports he intended to hold a “baptism and an in-person service”.

The spokesman said: “Officers explained that due to Covid-19, restrictions are in place preventing gatherings and that financial penalties can be applied if they are breached.”

Prince Charles speaks of UK and Germanys enduring connections

The Prince of Wales has spoken of the “enduring connections” between the UK and Germany as negotiators prepare for post-Brexit trade talks continue.

Prince Charles said though politicians were discussing the “shape” of the countries’ relationship, their “fundamental bond” would remain strong.

His wife, Camilla, has joined him on their first official overseas visit since the start of the Covid pandemic.

Earlier, they attended a wreath-laying ceremony at a memorial in Berlin.

Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall are the first members of the Royal Family to attend the ceremony at the Bundestag, the German parliament, in Berlin, marking the country’s National Day of Mourning for victims of war.

The prince told those gathered: “The United Kingdom has chosen a future outside the European Union, and the relationship between our countries is evolving once again.

“Its shape is a matter negotiated between our governments and its essence is defined by the enduring connections between our people.

“It is, therefore, my heartfelt belief that the fundamental bond between us will remain strong: we will always be friends, partners and allies.

“As our countries begin this new chapter in our long history, let us reaffirm our bond for the years ahead.”

The speech comes 75 years after the end of World War Two and as post-Brexit trade talks are reaching their crucial final stages.

Earlier on Sunday, Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall were welcomed to Germany by President Frank-Walter Steinmeier and his wife Elke Budenbender on the steps of the Bellevue Palace in Berlin.

The four then travelled to the Neue Wache Central Memorial, dedicated to victims of war and tyranny, where a wreath had been laid on behalf of the prince in front of a sculpture titled Mother With Her Dead Son.

The sculpture was designed by German artist Kathe Kollwitz in memory of her own son who died in World War One.

Prince Charles briefly touched the wreath before joining the president and four other German dignitaries in a silence as a trumpet solo echoed through the building.

The message on the prince’s poppy wreath read: “In everlasting remembrance of all victims of conflict and tyranny. Charles.”

Camilla then laid a posy featuring rosemary for remembrance and olive, white daisies and nerines for peace.

Thee royal couple flew to Berlin Brandenburg Airport on Saturday evening in the UK’s ministerial RAF Voyager jet – the first time it has flown dignitaries since a makeover costing almost £1m.

The prince, who celebrated his 72nd birthday on Saturday, was presented with a birthday cake during the flight.

The Royal Family have carried out a number of European visits since the UK voted to leave the EU in 2016.

During a tour of Germany in May last year, Prince Charles said the bonds between the UK and Germany “will, and must endure” post-Brexit.

And when his son, the Duke of Cambridge, visited the country in 2016, William said the depth of Britain’s friendship with Germany would not change after the UK left the EU.

Ahead of his trip, the Prince Charles held a telephone meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

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