Kate Middleton and Prince William Hail Frontline Heroes of Coronavirus Pandemic with Special Award

"We have been inspired by their stories of bravery and selflessness," says Princess Kate of the Pride of Britain award winners

Kate Middleton, Prince William
Kate Middleton and Prince William. Photo: Pride of Britain

Kate Middleton and Prince William have supported the heroes of the COVID-19 pandemic since the beginning of the crisis.

Now they have presented a key honor to the National Health Service at the forefront of the fight against the worst the disease has wrought across the U.K.

The couple’s involvement in the annual Pride of Britain awards leaked when they were spotted talking with the show's host, Kate Garraway, last week. (Kate wore a striking blue pantsuit to film the special!) Earlier that day, the couple had stepped out to meet some of the finalists of Princess Kate’s Hold Still photo project.

William and Kate, both 38, met six representatives of the NHS at Britain's oldest hospital, St Bartholomew's in the City of London to talk about their work during the pandemic.

Kate Middleton, Prince William
Kate Middleton, Prince William and Kate Garraway meeting the NHS staff. Pride of Britain

They also offered their support to TV host Garraway whose husband Derek is still seriously ill in the hospital after contracting the virus in March.

As they made their presentation during the awards, which will be broadcast on Sunday, William said, "The devastating impact of the coronavirus pandemic has reminded us as a nation of how much we owe to the thousands of NHS workers who have gone far beyond the call of duty this year.

"They have worked tirelessly around the clock, with humility and compassion, in the most challenging of circumstances, putting their own lives on the line to help others."

Kate Garraway
Presenter Kate Garraway with the NHS staffers. Philip Coburn

Kate added, "Through our conversations with frontline workers during the pandemic, we have been inspired by their stories of bravery and selflessness.

"Many have had to leave their families for weeks on end, some have come out of retirement to help, while others have stepped into new roles to play their part in the fight against coronavirus.

"And it is not just the medical teams - all NHS staff have played a crucial role through this time. During lockdown, we joined people up and down the country to applaud the NHS and our keyworkers each week. Their hard work still goes on and we remain indebted to them for all they do."

Thousands of members of the public nominated the frontline NHS heroes to receive a special recognition Pride of Britain award.

The royal couple and their children Prince George, 7, Princess Charlotte, 5, and Prince Louis, 2, took part in clapping for carers along with the rest of Britain earlier this year and set up a help service to focus on the mental health needs of the workers on the frontline.

As the royal couple presented the award, the Duke added, "We cannot thank you enough. On behalf of a grateful nation, it is a tremendous honour for Catherine and I to present this special recognition award to the army of dedicated NHS staff."

The six representatives were (from Barts Health Trust) Keisha Mills, an intensive care matron, Marion Jones, a health care assistant, and Dr. Simon Finney, an intensive care consultant, and (from the Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust) Heder Lopes Landim, a porter at Barnet Hospital; Martha Sarpong, an ITU support nurse, and Charlotte Greenfield, a critical care physical therapist.

Martha Sarpong, an ITU support nurse who was redeployed to Barnet Hospital, said she told Kate she had three young children too. "Kate asked me: 'How do you cope with the homeschooling?' I said: 'Thank God my husband is a teacher.'"

"They were asking how we were coping generally with covid and we explained what we did and how our managers supported us."

Charlotte Greenfield, a critical care physiotherapist at London's Royal Free Hospital, said in a statement, "It's incredibly flattering to be one of the people to receive the Pride of Britain award on behalf of the NHS."

"What was really nice was that the Duke and Duchess were asking us questions, they were genuinely interested."

Cambridge family
Prince William, Kate Middleton, Prince Louis, Prince George and Princess Charlotte. BBC

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"I don't think Prince William knew there was a different branch of physiotherapy in terms of respiratory, so I was explaining to him. I educated him a little on my role. I explained exactly how it had been. I kept using the word sweaty to him, but it really was."

St Bartholomew's, in the city of London, is Britain's oldest free hospital which has been treating patients for around 900 years, a period which spans the Black Death, Spanish flu and, this year, Coronavirus.

The presentation was filmed for the climax of the Daily Mirror Pride of Britain Awards 2020, in partnership with TSB, which will be broadcast on Sunday, November 1 at 9 p.m. on ITV. The awards, which have been running since 1999, celebrate the nation's unsung heroes.

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