Prince Charles has thanked Cabinet Office staff for their hard work during Brexit, and said he hopes things are “less stressful” during a visit to the heart of government on Thursday.
Charles and his wife Camilla popped into the government offices on what turned out to be a busy day for the prime minister, as his chancellor resigned during a reshuffle.
The Duke of Cornwall said: “I do congratulate you, particularly when I know how much extra work you had to do in the last two years.
“With little sleep probably and not seeing much of your families, so I hope now things are slightly less stressful.”
He had earlier nodded to the political drama of the day, saying: “Both my wife and I – we did wonder whether it was quite the most sensible day to come.
“We did say ‘please, we don’t want to get in your way’ but we were told it was all right.”
The prime minister was said to be completing a minor reshuffle, but ended up losing his right hand man when Sajid Javid quit amid an ongoing spat with Boris Johnson’s advisor Dominic Cummings.
Charles, 72, harked back to previous visits to the cabinet, recalling spending time in various departments during James Callaghan’s era in Downing St.
He said: “When I was much, much younger I remember spending a certain amount of time going round various departments.
“I was even able to spend the whole day at Number 10 with the then prime minister Mr (James) Callaghan, which was fascinating, you can imagine, at that stage in life.”
Callaghan was prime minister in the late 1970s and presided over a mass strike in the UK which became known as the Winter of Discontent.
Camilla showed some affection to cabinet dog Monty, who she was told by Darragh McElroy, head of national security communication “works in national security looking after us all, keeps us all calm – he’s a good therapy dog”.
Charles and Camilla’s Cabinet Office trip came after they toured the Tower of London to mark 50 years of the British Tourist Authority and 535 years of the Yeoman Warders.
They surprised a group of schoolchildren on a trip and shook hands with members of the public visiting the tourist attraction.
One schoolteacher from France said their visit had been “perfect timing” and said: “The kids are very, very happy.”
The Prince of Wales also viewed the crown which he was presented with during his investiture, which took place in 1969 in Caernarfon Castle.
It will go on display for the first time at the Tower of London on February 19.
Charles and Camilla cut into a lantern shaped cake which replicated the lantern used to guide the chief warder as he locks up the tower.
The cake was a gift from Camilla, and made by Julie Brownlee, who has previously baked for the duchess. It included two small sugar figures of wardens dressed in the traditional ceremonial and everyday uniforms.
Before lifting a replica of Henry VIII’s hunting dagger to slice into the white chocolate and raspberry-flavoured sponge, Camilla quipped: “It’s going to be off with their heads.”
Admiring the artistry of the cake, Charles said: “It seems an awful pity to make a mess of it.”