Royals Prince William and Kate Middleton Make Special Visit to Mark National Health Service's 72nd Birthday Prince William and Kate Middleton spoke to staff and volunteers who have worked to ensure that the Queen Elizabeth Hospital was able to cope with coronavirus pandemic By Eric Todisco Published on July 5, 2020 04:00 PM Share Tweet Pin Email Kate Middleton and Prince William. Photo: Joe Giddens - WPA Pool/Getty Images Prince William and Kate Middleton celebrated the NHS's 72nd birthday and thanked health care workers for their support in the national response to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The royals, both 38, visited the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King's Lynn on Sunday and joined employees for afternoon tea to celebrate the occasion, which also falls ahead of the hospital’s 40th anniversary on July 22. During their visit, the couple spoke to staff and volunteers who have worked to ensure that the hospital was able to cope with the pandemic, including medical staff, catering and operational staff, and those who have returned to work from retirement to support the COVID-19 effort. One of the guests was medic Suzie Vaughan, who spent nine weeks apart from her daughters while working on the frontlines. Her reunion with her kids went viral in June. Can't get enough of PEOPLE's Royals coverage? Sign up for our free Royals newsletter to get the latest updates on Kate Middleton, Meghan Markle and more! Joe Giddens - WPA Pool/Getty Images Prince William, George, Charlotte and Louis Pile Up in Candid Father's Day Photos — Taken by Kate! Joe Giddens - WPA Pool/Getty Images The NHS and social care system was created on July 5, 1948, transforming the health and wellbeing of the nation by bringing hospitals, doctors, nurses, pharmacists, opticians and dentists together for the first time to provide free care. Prince William Heads Out to See the Crown — the Pub, That Is! — as Lockdown Eases in England The Queen Elizabeth Hospital has been caring for patients since 1980 and currently serves a population of around 331,000 people from across Norfolk, Cambridgeshire, and Lincolnshire. The hospital has provided care to 450 coronavirus patients and has now recruited 46 patients to the COVID-19 Recovery Trial, with more than 500 enrolled in their other coronavirus research studies. 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.