Today, the NHS is celebrating its 72nd Birthday. To mark the occasion, The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visited the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King’s Lynn for afternoon tea and to thank the staff for their efforts, care and compassion in helping their community during the COVID-19 pandemic. The couple attended a socially distanced celebration following ‘saying thank you together’ clap to mark the NHS’s 72nd birthday. NHS was established on June 5 in 1948.
Less than 20 mins drive away from The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s country residence Anmer Hall at the Queen’s Sandringham Estate in Norfolk, The Queen Elizabeth Hospital was named after Queen Mother Queen Elizabeth I. The hospital has cared for many members of the Royal family given its close proximity to the Royal household.
Prince William drove his wife Catherine to the hospital for their first joint engagement after the pandemic. The Royal couple enjoyed tea with Doctors, Nurses, staff working at the hospital in the garden of the hospital that featured a marquee set up with tables and party balloons. The QEH will be celebrating it’s 40th anniversary later this month. Today, the whole nation is participating in Clap For Carers at 5 pm to mark the NHS anniversary.
Palace said the couple has privately participated in the national event. The NHS website says,
“Following the applause, we hope people will enjoy a drink or a cup of tea and reflect with family, friends and neighbours on the bonds that have sustained us in recent months and will continue to do so.”
Kensington Palace said, “Whether you are existing staff, former staff members who came out of retirement, volunteers or key workers – we thank you for the resilience, perseverance and hope you’ve shown our nation.” Throughout the pandemic, The Duke and Duchess have been championing the frontline workers who put their lives on the risk and worked during the pandemic.
During the visit, The Duke and Duchess met members of Team QEH who have made personal sacrifices and showed true dedication to their patients throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. One of the guest at the tea with Royals was Suzie Vaughan, an Operating Department Practitioner at QEH, who spent nine weeks apart from her children.
Suzie said, “It was a difficult decision but I wanted to keep the girls safe so they moved in with my sister. I worked on the COVID Intensive Treatment Unit and COVID Emergency Department during the pandemic. The past three months have been exhausting physically and emotionally and The Duke and Duchess’s visit is a recognition of the hard work and compassion that everybody has put in to keep our patients safe.” From Mirror’s report,
Kate and Wills sanitised their hands before being led to meet Suzie and her daughters.
Wills said: “I love your dresses.”
Kate, in a blue dress, said: “You girls look really pretty.”
Suzie told the royals how she kept away from her daughters for nine weeks. Turning to Suzie, Kate said: “You did a really good job. It’s amazing how everybody pulled together.”
Suzie told the Duchess her daughters had taken part in the weekly clap. Wills said to Suzie and chief nurse Libby McManus, “Everyone appreciated what you do. The NHS is a fantastic organisation.”
Trust chairman, Professor Steve Barnett, said:
“The past few months have been incredibly challenging for everyone at QEH, and for the wider NHS, as we have responded to this global pandemic. I could not be more proud of how our staff have responded – always putting patients and their safety first.
“As the nation celebrates the NHS’s 72nd birthday and we mark our own hospital’s 40th anniversary, today’s visit by The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge is a testament to the high regard we all have for those who care for us when we need it the most.
“Both our staff and the local community, who have given us so much support over the past few months, should be rightly proud of themselves. We have an incredibly special relationship with our local community in West Norfolk, and today’s clap was about saying thank you for the unrivalled support we have received in recent months, for which we could not be more grateful.”
Staff across the Trust cared for more than 450 patients with COVID-19 in the first few months of the pandemic. 291 who tested positive for COVID, have since been discharged from QEH.
Frontline doctors and nurses, support teams and administration staff have all worked tirelessly to provide safe care for patients at the hospital. The site was split into zones to separate COVID and suspected COVID patients from non-COVID patients, including creating an additional Emergency Department. New ways of working and technology were implemented at pace and staff were redeployed into new teams to support care. More from Mirror,
The Duke and Duchess also spoke to Sam Jude, 30, a nurse at the hospital, came down with coronavirus in May, and attended the bash with his wife Blessy George, 27.
William joked with health workers and asked how they coped with anxiety during the crisis.
They described “wobbly-moments”.
William said: “This is a good way of describing it.”
Before leaving, William and Catherine received three NHS Knitted Angels. William thanked the staff and said, “Children will love them”.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge had been self-isolating with their three kids at Anmer Hall since the last week of March. They were working from home and undertaking virtual engagements. They started stepping out and undertaking in-person engagements just recently as the Government eased the lockdown restrictions. Today was Duchess’ third public engagement. Before this, she visited Fakenham Garden and The Nook of EACH last month.
A video of the visit.
For the visit, The Duchess of Cambridge wore a blue Beulah London ‘Shalini’ Micro Geo Floral print dress.
The $667 dress is described as, “Beulah’s navy dress is digitally printed with a charming floral pattern that is contrasted with a white point collar and matching cuffs – typically ladylike nuances from the label. It’s made in England with a fitted bodice followed by a flared skirt, then cinched at the waist with a coordinating belt.”
Duchess also owns the same design in pink florals that she debuted last month when she recorded a Mental Health Awareness week message.
Catherine paired the dress with her Patrick Mavros Ocean Tides Milky Quartz Earrings
and her Rupert Sanderson Malory Pumps.