"Thank you for all the hard work you do on a day-to-day basis," Kate Middleton said

By Simon Perry
May 12, 2020 11:34 AM
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Kate Middleton and Sophie, the Countess of Wessex teamed up to make supportive calls around the world to crucial healthcare workers on the coronavirus frontlines in honor of International Nurses Day on Tuesday.

As healthcare staff battle the ongoing pandemic across the globe, the royal moms took part in a series of conversations with nurses in India, Cyprus, Malawi, Australia, Sierra Leone, the Bahamas and the U.K. on Monday ahead of International Nurses Day. All seven countries are members of the Commonwealth, the 54 nations with close ties to Britain.

"Thank you for all the hard work you do on a day-to-day basis," Kate said during the calls.

Kate Middleton and Sophie, Countess of Wessex
| Credit: Kensington Palace

"I hope you're feeling some of the love as well," Sophie assured nurses in Queensland, Australia, where they called Gidgee Healing. There, the nurses provide culturally appropriate services to local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

The pair called the LV Prasad Eye Institute and Apollo hospitals in Hyderabad, India.

"It's amazing that you're able to still continue the support and the care that you'd normally provide even under these really difficult circumstances," Kate told them.

The eye institute is one that Sophie Wessex, who is Global Ambassador for the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness, visited in 2019 as she highlighted the work being done on avoidable blindness.

"Thank you for what you're doing," Sophie said. 'And the outcomes are so much better because of the interventions you are doing."

Kate Middleton and Sophie, Countess of Wessex
| Credit: Kensington Palace
Kate Middleton
| Credit: Kensington Palace

The royal duo also talked to HIV and maternal health nurses from Phalombe District hospital in Malawi, Africa — a second country Sophie traveled to in 2017 as she campaigns to halt the scourge of eyesight problems in the developing world.

And, in return, Kate introduced her royal counterpart to the Evelina London Children’s hospital of which Kate is a patron, where the royal mothers chatted to pediatric nurses.

[primary_media_image caption="Kate Middleton and Sophie, Countess of Wessex" primary_image="12137132" orientation="default" autocrop="true" /]

Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge and Sophie, Countess of Wessex
| Credit: Kensington Palace

Meanwhile, in Cyprus, where Kate visited servicemen and women before Christmas in 2018 with husband Prince William, the pair spoke with nurses from the Queen Alexandra’s Royal Army Nursing Corps. Sophie, 55, is Colonel-in-Chief of that regiment.

“Is everyone worried about their families and their loved ones back home? It must be adding to the pressure," Kate asked the military nurses in Cyprus.

When they asked how families were doing amid the lockdown, one of the nurses told them that a family member is a teacher, so she's "quite busy."

“Be careful, she’s about to be recruited,” Sophie, who like Kate is helping homeschooling her kids, joked.

Kate then replied with a laugh, “I’d like her to come and help me out!"

Kate Middleton and Sophie, Countess of Wessex
| Credit: Kensington Palace

They also chatted with mental health nurses in the Bahamas.

Kate, 38, recently wrote in support of the Nursing Now campaign, of which she became patron two years ago, to thank them and praise the profession on their bravery.

“I wanted to thank the Nursing Now campaign very much for all you are doing to support nurses around the world during this hugely difficult time,” Kate wrote.

“The crucial, and often unsung, role that nurses play in global health care is needed now more than ever.

"In this, the International Year of the Nurse and Midwife, healthcare workers are facing unprecedented challenges in the fight against the global pandemic. Often putting their lives at risk and separating from loved ones to protect them from harm, they are an inspiration to us all. We stand behind all nurses and commend their bravery.

“This international crisis has brought into sharp focus how much the global community relies on nurses and all healthcare professionals and it is clear that we will need to continue to champion the nursing profession long after the pandemic has ended."

Kate and Sophie weren't the only royals to make special calls to nurses around the globe. Queen Elizabeth led the way from Windsor Castle when she called Professor Kathleen McCourt, president of the Commonwealth Nurses and Midwives Federation, to express her admiration for the bravery and dedication of the nursing profession.

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Last week William, 37, talked to nurses at the Royal Marsden hospital in London, where he is Patron, and his aunt Princess Anne spoke with the program manager of a medical ship in Tanzania, Africa supported by her patronage the Vine Trust.

Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall made a video message of support for the profession, with Charles, 71, saying, “On this International Nurses Day my family and I want to join in the chorus of thank yous to nursing and midwifery staff across the country and indeed the world.”

Princes Charles
| Credit: Kensington Palace
Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall
| Credit: Kensington Palace

Camilla, 72, recorded messages of support for nurses from the Royal Naval Medical Service (of which she is Commodore-in-Chief) and on her patronages, Roald Dahl’s Marvellous Children Charity.

International Nurses Day falls on the 200th anniversary of the birth of Florence Nightingale, one of the most famous nurses in history and after whom many of the temporary field hospitals set up to tackle the coronavirus crisis in the U.K. have been named.