"Staying connected, staying positive and being able to talk to friends and family is so crucial," Prince William said
Duke and Duchess of Cambridge
Prince William and Kate Middleton
| Credit: BBC

Kate Middleton and Prince William are speaking out about the mental health challenges and the fortitude of healthcare workers and others fighting the coronavirus in a groundbreaking new interview.

Appearing on the morning show BBC Breakfast on Friday via a video call, the royal couple hailed the staff and volunteers who are on the frontlines during the COVID-19 pandemic. They also highlighted the Every Mind Matters mental health initiative that aims to help people take simple steps to look after their wellbeing and support others.

“We felt very strongly that now more than ever this was a vital tool and a vital service that people could easily access at home to guide them and give them just some very basic tips to mind their mental health, to mind their mental wellbeing through this process,” Prince William said.

“I think again, staying connected, staying positive and being able to talk to friends and family is so crucial and having just some tips and some ideas as to how to tackle some of these strange feelings and difficult circumstances we’re finding ourselves in is really important, just to nudge us through these next few weeks,” he added.

Speaking to broadcaster Tina Daheley — who hosted the 2018 Royal Foundation Forum with William, Kate, Meghan Markle and Prince Harry — William added: “Frontline workers are used to dealing, sadly, with very sad situations, death and things like that, but I think the scale and the speed of what’s going on in hospitals, bearing in mind also the isolation, a lot of these patients are dying with no family members around them.”

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge spoke to the BBC via video link
Prince William and Kate Middleton
| Credit: BBC

“I think for the NHS frontline workers that is very difficult, because they are there right next to the bedsides, looking after and caring for each and every patient in a critical condition, and I think they take away that pain and that sometimes that fear and loneliness that these patients have to go through.

“They’re the ones who absorb that and take it home to their families and I think again, I’ve spoken about the attrition and the daily attrition rate of that happening to somebody is not normal and we’re not super human any of us, so to be able to manage those emotions and that feeling is going to take some time after all this is over as well.”

Kate also shared her thoughts on how the pandemic will fundamentally change what we value.

“I think what we’re saying now is the NHS and the frontline workers are doing the most extraordinary job, and that’s really come to the forefront in the last few weeks. I think it’s going to dramatically change how we all value and see our frontline workers, and I think that is one of the main positives that you can take from this,” she said. “They do an extraordinary job, and now I think all of us as a nation can really see how hard they work and how vital their work is.”

William and Kate are isolating with their children — Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis — at their country home, Anmer Hall, in Norfolk, about 110 miles north of London.

The couple has been continuing with their work while being mindful of the restrictions of social distancing that make traditional royal engagements impossible. Lat week, they conducted their first-ever full royal engagement via video call amid the coronavirus pandemic, chatting with a school in northern England where the kids of essential workers — such as healthcare staff and emergency services members — are being cared for and taught.

William and Kate Call Teachers
Prince William and Kate Middleton
| Credit: Kensington Palace

Earlier this month, 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.

William and Kate “have been in regular contact with organisations and patronages to understand the issues they are facing during this difficult time,” according to their office.

Charlotte, Louis, and George applauding the NHS
Princess Charlotte, Prince Louis and Prince George
| Credit: The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge

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George, Charlotte and Louis are contributing too. Last month, 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.