Inside Kate Middleton and Prince William's 'Totally Unexpected' Call to Hospital Staff Amid Coronavirus

"We'd just like to say from the two of us how proud we are of all of you and how amazingly you are all doing under extreme circumstances," Prince William said during the call

Kate Middleton
Kate Middleton. Photo: Kensington Palace

Kate Middleton and Prince William made surprise calls to healthcare workers on the front lines of the coronavirus crisis — including to the colleagues of one of the first doctors to die of the virus.

On Wednesday, William and Kate spoke with staff from Queen’s Hospital Burton in Staffordshire, England. It was there that Amged El-Hawrani, a senior doctor in the National Health Service, worked. He was among the first medics to die in the U.K. during the COVID-19 outbreak.

“We’d just like to say from the two of us how proud we are of all of you and how amazingly you are all doing under extreme circumstances,” William said during the call. “I know all of you see this as your job and that you get on with it, but this is a different level and you are doing an incredible job.

“The whole country is proud of you so thank you for everything you’re doing and all the hours you are putting in.”

Kate added: “You’re stretched in all sorts of ways looking after the patients in your care under such extreme circumstances. But you also need to be able to make sure you support yourselves, and each other. It must be so hard, but I’m glad to hear that you’re currently getting all the support you need.”

<a href="" data-inlink="true">Prince William</a>
Prince William. Kensington Palace

The royal parents also spoke with staff at the University Hospital Monklands in Lanarkshire, Scotland, as they continued the royal family’s show of support for those helping patients and their relatives amid the pandemic.

During the two calls, the royal couple heard about the impact of the spread of the virus on the personal and professional lives of staff. The doctors and nurses told William and Kate about the invaluable support they have received from their local communities, as well as how they are supporting each other as they work through this crisis.

Alice Bloxham, a Sister at Queen’s Hospital Burton’s Covid-19 cohort ward, said: “Until recently our ward was an Acute Care of the Elderly ward, but now we are caring for patients with Covid-19. This has been a difficult time for all the patients we care for and for the staff working in a very different environment. It was a pleasure to talk to the Duke and Duchess and to be able to explain some of the challenges we face for our patients. Everyone at the hospital appreciates the support they gave us on the call.”

Donna Marie McGroarty, Infectious Diseases Charge Nurse, from University Hospital Monklands said: “We were so honored to receive a call from Their Royal Highnesses. It has been a tough time for all our staff. However the support we have received from colleagues and the community has been overwhelming. The telephone call from the Duke and Duchess was totally unexpected and a real morale boost.”

William and Kate call Queens Hospital Burton
Staff at Queens Hospital Burton. Queens Hospital Burton

William and Kate are working from their country home, Anmer Hall, about 110 miles north of London, where they are living with children Prince George, 6, Princess Charlotte, 4, and Prince Louis, who turns 2 on April 23. William and Kate made the calls on Wednesday as Prince Charles released a special video message showing solidarity with those suffering with the illness, and hailing hospital staffers and shop workers who are doing crucial work.

Charles, 71, who was diagnosed with coronavirus virus last week after suffering “mild symptoms,” said in the video from his Scottish home, Birkhall, “At a time when doctors, nurses and all the vital ancillary staff that form the backbone of our remarkable N.H.S. are increasingly under such enormous strain, and risk, as they battle heroically to save lives in intensive care centers and to contain, as much as possible, the spread of this virus, our thoughts and prayers are very much with those marvelous people whose extraordinary skills and utter, selfless devotion to duty and the care of their patients make us so very proud.”

“In this regard, we also think of all those many shop workers who are toiling as hard as they can throughout each and every night to keep supermarket shelves stocked – a further “emergency service” on which we are all relying.”

<a href="" data-inlink="true">Prince Charles</a>
Prince Charles. Clarence House/Twitter

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He also provided a health update, revealing that he is now at the “other side of the illness,” and added, “As we are all learning this is a strange, frustrating and often distressing experience when the presence of family and friends is no longer possible and the normal structures of life are suddenly removed. At such an unprecedented and anxious time in all our lives, my wife and I are thinking particularly of all those who have lost their loved ones in such very difficult and abnormal circumstances, and of those having to endure sickness, isolation and loneliness.”

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