Kate Middleton and Prince William Conduct Their First-Ever Video Call to Kids of Healthcare Workers
Kate Middleton and Prince William are continuing to find ways to support their royal work during the coronavirus pandemic. On Wednesday, the royal couple thanked teachers helping care for kids amid the crisis.
William and Kate made a special video call to a school in northern England where the kids of essential workers — such as healthcare staff and emergency services members — are being taught and looked after. It marks the first time the royal couple have conducted an entire royal engagement via video call.
The couple sat side-by-side as they spoke with staff and children at Casterton Primary Academy in Burnley, Lancashire.
“Well done, honestly, to you and everyone who’s in during this time. It must be such a relief for all the parents who are key workers to know that the normality is there for their children — they’ve got the structure and they’ve got a safe place for them to be, so really really well done to all of you,” Kate, 38, said.
William, 37, added, “We just want to say a huge thank you to you guys and well done in keeping it all going. Please pass on many messages of support for all the staff and all the volunteers — they’re doing a great job.”
The school is close to Burnley General Hospital and a high percentage of the pupils have parents who are working on the front lines against the illness.
It has stayed open during what would have been the Easter holiday break as a local center for the area’s five schools that comprise the Pendle Education Trust. Some of the children used the occasion to show the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge portraits of their parents and told them how proud they were of them.
The children were making arts and crafts for Easter and were able to proudly show the royals what they had made. Many of the kids also wore bunny ears for the occasion, to which Kate said: “We should have had our bunny ears on.” William then chimed in: “That’s a strong look.”
As one little girl held up a handmade basket, William said: “Is that a little handbag?”
The little girl let out a big laugh and then corrected the prince, saying: “No! It’s an Easter bag!”
The royal couple were also told about the challenges that schools, staff and children have been facing and how the school has been making efforts to help local families with food deliveries and mental health provision.
They also spoke with a project manager from one of Kate’s key charities, the mental health charity Place2Be, which has worked with schools in the Pendle Education Trust for 10 years, supporting the emotional wellbeing of children, parents and staff.
William then shared: “There will be a lot of chocolate being eaten here, don’t worry!”
Kate then turned to him and said with a laugh: “You keep eating it!”
Last week, Kate and William carried out a similar engagement, making 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.
The royal couple spoke with staff from Queen’s Hospital Burton in Staffordshire, England, the hospital where 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.”
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.
And George, Charlotte and Louis are also doing their part by applauding healthcare workers. Recently, the trio made an appearance on the couple’s social media pages enthusiastically clapping for all those helping patients affected by coronavirus as they joined in on a viral hashtag initiative amid the pandemic.
“To all the doctors, nurses, carers, GPs, pharmacists, volunteers and other NHS staff working tirelessly to help those affected by #COVID19: thank you,” the video was captioned, along with the hashtags ##ClapForOurCarers, #ClapForCarers, #ThankYouNHS and #ClapForNHS.
As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from CDC, WHO, and local public health departments. To help provide doctors and nurses on the front lines with life-saving medical resources, donate to Direct Relief here.