The Royal Family has faced a tumultuous few months alongside the rest of the world, with the coronavirus pandemic separating family members and stopping work and school. Now The Firm are slowly getting back into engagements, with Prince William starting to return to working life – albeit with social distancing restrictions.
Today, William had an outing which closely echoed one of his late mother’s engagements.
The Duke of Cambridge visited the Royal Marsden Hospital in Surrey to commemorate the start of construction on a state-of-the-art cancer research centre.
This was 30 years after Diana, Princess of Wales had visited the hospital to open a new wing.
And the pair both had to wear protective gear on their visits – with Diana seen wearing a white hard hat and William a face mask.
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Diana visited the new wing in June 1990, with William following in her footsteps more than 30 years later.
Princess Diana was known for her extensive charity work during her lifetime, something which both her sons Prince William and Prince Harry have continued.
Prince William is president of The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust, and had launched The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity’s public appeal.
This was in order to fundraise the final amount needed to build the state-of-the-art Oak Cancer research centre.
The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity is due to open to patients in 2022, and has raised £62 million of the £70 million needed.
After meeting patients and staff William said: “Every time I visit the Marsden, I am struck not just by the significant advances that are being made in research and treatment, but also by the hope and belief embodied by each patient and member of staff, even in the darkest of times.
“I am personally delighted to be with you today to lay the foundation stone of the Oak Centre, thirty years after my mother did the very same thing at The Royal Marsden in Chelsea, commemorating the building of the Chelsea Wing.”
William went on to recognise the “unimaginable challenges that all those at the Marsden have faced this year”.
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He said: “The knock-on effects of coronavirus have been felt widely, but the impact on cancer treatment for patients up and down the country has been one of the most acute and challenging.”
Wiliam said the new centre would “bring together some of the world’s best minds to develop new treatments to save and improve the lives of cancer patients throughout the UK and around the world”.
He added: “Despite the challenging times we are living in, it is so important we take the time to acknowledge the tremendous work that continues all around us.
“And that irrespective of the global pandemic, there remains hope for the many thousands of people dealing with the effects of cancer.”
After speaking, William took a trowel and did the pointing for the foundation stone for the building.
William’s cousins Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie have been closely working with the Teenage Cancer Trust during the pandemic and took part in a virtual chat with workers and patients.
The trust has been hosting a wealth of online events for the young people they help – with many unable to leave their homes due to shielding.
Speaking in June HRH Princess Beatrice said: “We’ve grown up with Teenage Cancer Trust, we’ve been part of this family our entire lives, and it was so amazing to speak with these young people and some of the incredible team who are supporting them through this crisis.
“They have been through so much already, and as we start to come out of lockdown, many young people will remain in very difficult situations, often separated from friends and family, at home or in hospital.
“We must not forget about them, and charities like Teenage Cancer Trust who are working so hard to help them cope.”
Princess Eugenie said: “To hear from these young people was an honour and a privilege, and to hear how Teenage Cancer Trust has been adapting to support them online during this crisis is truly inspiring.
“This charity and the young people that it works with have created such a wonderful community.”