Prince Charles has thanked the Royal Mail for "defending" the written word in a world of "texting and social media apps".

Prince Charles

Prince Charles

The Prince of Wales and his wife, Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, attended a celebration of 500 years of the postal service at Merchant Taylor's Hall in London yesterday (06.09.16), and he paid tribute to the work done by the 140,000 current staff, and past employees of the company.

In a speech, Charles said: "Ladies and Gentlemen, perhaps your greatest service is the way that Royal Mail, by its very existence, defends the written word. In these days of texting and various social media "apps", the well-constructed sentence is under mortal threat! As someone who relies on the well-aimed letter - and relishes the ones in return! - I can only say how strongly I feel that the logical ordering of thoughts in proper, grammatically correct prose is in fact rather important at the end of the day."

The 67-year-old royal also branded the postal service a "national treasure" on behalf of those who still write letters.

He added: "On behalf of letter-writers; of isolated communities; of the eager and expectant on Valentine's and other equally special days; and, indeed, on behalf of dear old Santa Claus himself, I can only offer my heartfelt thanks and warmest congratulations on a job conspicuously well done by you all. You are, as they say, a national treasure."

The Royal Mail was established in 1516 and now handles an incredible one billion parcels a year and 16 billion letters a year.