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‘Massive' hands and ‘extremely charming': nurse recalls meeting Charles

Michelle Beaver, 50, met Charles twice in 2019 – with the first being in Liverpool and the second at Buckingham Palace.

A nurse has reflected on meeting the “extremely charming” King Charles twice and sharing a “lovely” handshake and smile with him.

The King has spoken to many people laying tributes for his late mother at various points since her death last Thursday, and one woman has recalled meeting Charles when he was a prince.

Michelle Beaver, who lives in Liverpool and works as a cardiology nurse, told the PA news agency that she met Charles twice in 2019 and that the moments left her with a “warm feeling” and induced plenty of laughter.

She first encountered Charles in February that year at the Marie Curie Hospice in Liverpool, where she has volunteered at and fundraised for the past 10 years, often through trekking overseas.

“I was going in one day because I used to do surveys with all the patients and just sit and chat with them and on one occasion staff members said to me: ‘pop back this afternoon, I can’t tell you why’,” the 50-year-old said.

“I thought it was a bit strange, but I popped back that afternoon and prince Charles was visiting because it was the 60th anniversary of the hospice being opened in Liverpool.

“I was standing on the ward with the nurses and he came along to say hello to us all.”

She added that he said thank you to her and the rest of the team for the work they have been doing, and she said she was taken aback by his handshake.

“The first thing I noticed was that apart from being extremely charming, it was the size of his hands”, she said.

“They were absolutely massive because I am only little, but it was such a lovely handshake and he had such a warm smile.

“And he made sure he looked everyone in the eye and he looked like he was really interested in what we had to say.”

She added that she felt “so happy and so pleased” to have met him and that her late grandmother (Gertie Kamenoff, who died at the age of 101 in 2013) would have been equally impressed.

“When we were children, my grandma used to make sure that we would all sit down on Christmas Day and watch the Queen’s Speech and made sure that we were all quiet so she could listen to it,” she said.

“At the back of my mind was my grandma and my family and what they would think.

Man and woman with plates and cups in their hands
Michelle Beaver with her husband Peter at the garden party at Buckingham Palace in May 2019 (Michelle Beaver/PA)

“It was quite thought-provoking and a lovely warm feeling because my family will be looking down and seeing that.”

On the second occasion, Mrs Beaver said that she was invited to a garden party at Buckingham Palace in May, where she was reunited with Charles, but had to first call the number on the invite as she “didn’t really believe that it was for me”.

Along with her husband – Peter, 54 – she went to the event, unaware of which royals would be present.

“We were waiting to find out when we got there and were put in to different lines and then Charles came with all his aids.”

Mrs Beaver said that her husband whispered to her that she should do some press-ups to greet Charles, as the exercise is a ritual which she regularly carries out as part of trekking challenges, but she declined the humorous request.

Charles sticking his finger out, with his other hand on a stick
Michelle Beaver wearing a blue dress and taking a photo of Charles, who appears to be dancing (Victoria Jones/PA)

“He was coming down the aisles and his aides were telling him to go one way and he pointing over towards us,” she said, adding that it almost looked like he was dancing.

“He came over and I told him: ‘do you remember me? You met me a month or two ago’, and he said, ‘oh gosh, I don’t remember what I did yesterday’.”

She added that Charles has been doing an “absolutely amazing” job since he has become King.

“He’s showing his face everywhere and you can’t possibly imagine what he is going through,” she said.

“It’s bad enough grieving for a mother, but then he is also in the public eye and everyone can see every inch of his face constantly.

“He is working his socks off.”