Prince William officially launched the construction of the Oak Cancer Centre at the Royal Marsden in Sutton, Surrey. This engagement took place 30 years after his beloved mother, Princess Diana, also laid the foundation stone of a new building at the another hospital part of the Royal Marsden trust in Chelsea.
In June 1990, the Princess of Wales wore a hard hat with the letters ‘HRH’ on it during her engagement carried out to commemorate the launch of the construction works at the London hospital.
Much like her son today, the royal held a trowel while laying the cement and a brick next to a plaque commemorating her visit.
During today’s engagement, Prince William ditched the hard hat and wore a surgical face mask to protect the vulnerable and experts he met at the hospital.
Bracing the rain, the Duke of Cambridge also held the umbrella while laying the symbolic stone.
The Duke met patients and staff at the hospital, praising them for their resilience and courage.
Delivering an impassioned speech to the crown, William said: “Every time I visit the Marsden, I am struck, not just by the significant advances that have been made in research and treatment, but also by the hope and beliefs embodied by each patient.”
The Duke’s presence at the hospital in Surrey today was also particularly important, as he promoted the Royal Marsden Cancer Charity’s public appeal.
This appeal has been launched to raise the final amount to build the new Oak Cancer Centre.
The hospital charity has so far raised nearly £62million of the £70million needed to complete the centre.
Due to open in 2022, this cancer centre will see 400 researchers work closely to patients, in a bid to speed up treatment and breakthrough in cancer research.
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Visiting the hospital charity in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, the Duke also heard from patients and researchers the impact COVID-19 is having on cancer treatment and care.
Prince William has echoed Princess Diana during several other visits he has carried out at the Marsden.
In 2007, the Duke honoured his mother’s legacy by becoming the royal president of the Royal Marsden.
In 2018, Prince William was photographed visiting the charity wearing scrubs – much like his mother had done during one of her engagements at the Royal Marsden.
The Queen is also deeply connected to this hospital charity, having been its patron for several years.
Prince William’s visit to the Marsden follows another engagement he took part in yesterday.
On Tuesday, the Duke of Cambridge accompanied his wife Kate in south London to meet one of the subjects of the portraits submitted for the Hold Still competition.
The couple were driven to Waterloo also to see in person one of the 80 posters depicting one of the 100 portraits hand-picked by the judges of the Hold Still campaign.
Kate and William also visited the St Bartholomew’s Hospital to meet one of the authors of a poignant portrait taken in May, in the height of the pandemic.