Prince Charles catches backlash for asking furloughed Brits, students to help pick fruits, vegetables

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Prince Charles, the heir to the British throne, is asking his citizens to go back to the land during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Prince of Wales posted a video on Twitter pleading with students and furloughed workers to do “unglamorous” agricultural work and help farmers harvest fruit and vegetable crops.

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“If we are to harvest British fruit and vegetables this year, we need an army of people to help,” Prince Charles said. “Food does not happen by magic. It all begins with our remarkable farmers and growers. If the last few weeks have proven anything, it is that food is precious and valued and it cannot be taken for granted.”

The call to arms is part of the “Pick for Britain” campaign.

“In the coming months, many thousands of people will be needed to bring in the crops. It will be hard graft but is hugely important if we are to avoid the growing crops going to waste,” he said. “I do not doubt that the work will be unglamorous and, at times, challenging, but it is of the utmost importance and at the height of this global pandemic you will be making a vital contribution to the national effort.”

Many were quick to respond to the Prince’s plea, noting that he is not only asking the British people to do something potentially dangerous during a global pandemic but also questioned the optics of a British royal asking people to do manual labor.

“You are correct.  Some Quick Questions: 1. Who is going to provide the PPE and top class health provision (aka the PM’s level), should one start displaying symptoms, and death benefits? 2. Who is going to provide the transport and housing?” one user asked.

“Perhaps your family can get the approximately 700 staff you employ to go and pick in the fields and you can look after yourselves for once,” another user responded.

“This would carry more weight if Prince Charles was seen in a field actually working,” a third user noted.

“The gall of this,” a more blunt critic wrote.

“Tell us which farm you and your family will be picking fruit and vegs?” another user asked.

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The 71-year-old tested positive for the new coronavirus in March — touching off debate about whether his wealth and status gave him priority in receiving a test.

Government figures Wednesday showed that another 363 people who have tested positive for the virus have died in the U.K. in all settings, including hospitals and care homes. That took the total to 35,704, the highest death tally in Europe and second in the world behind the United States.

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