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Welcoming His Majesty The King to APHA Weybridge

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His Majesty the King shaking hands with a male scientist with other scientists in the background. The APHA logo is shown with the text, "His Majesty The King visits APHA Weybridge".
His Majesty The King meeting APHA scientists

We were delighted to welcome His Majesty King Charles III to APHA Weybridge on 9 March. His Majesty The King met with scientists and staff to learn more about their contribution to protecting animal, plant and bee health, including their work associated with the largest-ever outbreak of avian influenza in the UK.

APHA’s world-leading scientists and staff have played a vital role in supporting avian influenza diagnostics and disease control. Their work to tackle the outbreak helps protect animal and public health but also supports our international trading relationships.

His Majesty The King undertook a full tour of Weybridge joined by Geraint Richards from the Duchy of Cornwall estate, Edward Parsons from the Sandringham estate, and Paul Sedgewick from the Crown estate.

Also in attendance were Lord Benyon, Minister for Biosecurity, Marine and Rural Affairs, David Holdsworth, our Chief Executive and Professor Ian Brown, our Director of Scientific Services.

The tour involved briefings on some of most difficult animal health diseases the world faces including avian influenza and bovine TB as well as plant health challenges including invasive non-native species.

His Majesty The King also visited dedicated specialist research laboratories to see genome mapping and a mosquito laboratory where he was shown APHA’s vector-borne disease (VBD) programme.

His Majesty The King spent a generous amount of time meeting and speaking with a wide range of staff from across the network of GB sites, including those working on the import of pets from Ukraine, before personally addressing all in attendance and via a live video link.

Image of His Majesty, King Charles III with the text in quote marks, "I'm full of admiration for what you do, what you manage to achieve against these huge challenges in all directions. I know many have been working such late hours for days and days. So, I can only say you are totally heroic, we're so incredibly lucky to have you battling away for our safety and our future".
His Majesty The King, addressing APHA staff during his visit

Staff have shared their reflections on the historic visit:

Image of His Majesty The King shaking hands with David Holdsworth, Chief Executive, APHA alongside David's quote, "It was an absolute privilege to host HM The King and for him to meet so many of APHA's inspirational people from all over the Agency and Great Britain. HM personally cleared space in his diary before the coronation to come and hear about the amazing work we have been doing on the country's behalf and to thank everybody, so I know his words at the end of his visit were sincere and heartfelt. I'd like to say a huge thank you to everyone who attended and hope they felt as privileged as I did to meet the King and showcase to him what we do".

Image of His Majesty The King with APHA's Samira Ahmad, laboratory scientist, alongside her quote, "I was thrilled and feel so fortunate to have spoken to the King. This was such a good experience."

Image of His Majesty The King standing in front of APHA's Rosie Sallis with Rosie's quote, "I was immensely proud to meet His Majesty and to represent my department and the Agency. The King was very interested in what we did as scientists and vets, as well as being amazed at the complexity of our site".

Image of His Majesty The King with APHA's Lead Scientist for TB, Phil Hogarth alongside a quote from Phil, "The King seemed very relaxed and put us at ease. We presented an overview of bovine TB. He was genuinely interested in the innovative scientific solutions we have developed (including CattleBCG vaccine and DIVA skin test) and asked insightful questions about test development and current clinical trials".

Image of His Majesty The King talking to Alice Hyde, Occupational Health and Wellbeing Manager, APHA alongside her quote, "It was such an honour and privilege to meet His Majesty The King, and his visit reminds me of how proud I am to work for APHA, the importance and significance of our roles, and the Agency as a whole. He asked a lot of questions and seemed incredibly interested in how we support the wellbeing of colleagues within the Agency. The sincerity of his conversation and questions showed how interested he was in the work we do".

Image of His Majesty The King looking at models of insects with a quote from Lucy Carson-Taylor, Plant Health Engagement Manager, APHA, "The King is a great supporter of plant and bee health as well as the work of the Non-Native Species Secretariat. It was such an honour to update him on some of the latest pest risks and to present him with a copy of our Chelsea gold medal in recognition of his ongoing support for our work".

We issued a press release to mark the announcement – read more here.

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