Prince Charles opened Ysbyty Calon Y Ddraig, Dragon's Heart Hospital, on Monday

By Simon Perry
April 20, 2020 04:15 PM
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Credit: The Royal Family/YouTube

Prince Charles paid tribute to health service workers who have paid the “ultimate sacrifice” while working to fight against the coronavirus pandemic in the U.K. on Monday.

The royal sent out a video message to mark the official opening of the latest emergency field hospital, set up in a sports stadium in Cardiff, Wales, saying “their sacrifice will not be forgotten.”

While he couldn’t carry out his royal duty in Wales amid the country’s lockdown, Charles, 71, who is isolating in Scotland, showcased his Welsh language skills during the video address as the Ysbyty Calon Y Draig — the Dragon’s Heart Hospital in Cardiff — was unveiled.

“In a facility named, so evocatively and so appropriately, Calon y Ddraig, what can I say except ‘diolch o galon,’ (heartfelt thanks) and express the warmest possible thanks for what you have done, and all that you will do in this hospital, and all those other field hospitals, across Wales, where buildings have been transformed as part of the immense effort to combat the dreadful threat we face. Llongyfarchiadau ichi i gyd. (Congratulations to you all.)

And he paid tribute to the many health service and other workers who have perished as they fight the illness.

“Such commitment, of course, has come at a price. And as the days have gone by, we have become ever more painfully aware of those in our National Health and public services who have made the ultimate sacrifice in caring for others, giving their lives in the service of their fellow men and women, without thought of reward, and without regard for self.”

“Today, we honor their memory, and can resolve, in words long used to commemorate those who fell in other conflicts: ‘ay haberth nid â heibio’ – their sacrifice shall not be forgotten.”

He added, “We mark one of the most remarkable transformations that have been achieved – namely turning Wales’s national stadium – one might almost say its national shrine – into this giant temporary field hospital. This, and all the other field hospitals across Wales, are an achievement of which we are all immensely proud. Through your extraordinary efforts, this stadium, so long a place of who-wyl, has now become a place of healing.”

The hospital will have a mobile x-ray, CT scanners and on-site pharmacy and an end-of-life pathway. The adjacent Cardiff Blues Stadium will host a facility for staff and a reception for relatives.

Prince Charles
| Credit: The Royal Family/YouTube

In addition to the prince’s address, there was also music playing, including a pre-recorded performance by Charles’s official harpist, Alis Huws.

It is the latest royal opening of the temporary hospitals that have been built at incredible speed to cope with possible overload caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Charles opened the first, the Nightingale hospital in East London, and Prince William did the same in Birmingham.

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The ceremony was hosted by former Rugby Union player and Doctor, Jamie Roberts, and remarks were also made by Chair of Cardiff and Vale University Health Board, Professor Charles Janczewski; and the Welsh Minister for Health and Social Care, Vaughan Gething and Mark Drakeford, First Minister for Wales.