NHS heroes who have faced the coronavirus crisis head-on have been given a Pride of Britain award presented by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.
The royal couple praised them for their “humility and compassion” while working during the pandemic.
William and Kate paid tribute to all health workers who have put their “lives on the line to help others” following the outbreak.
The couple met six representatives of the NHS last week to present them with the special recognition award at one of Britain’s oldest hospitals, St Bartholomew’s in the City of London.
They were introduced by Good Morning Britain co-host Kate Garraway, whose husband Derek Draper is seriously ill in hospital after contracting Covid-19 in March.
The royals offered their support to the TV presenter.
The duke said: “The devastating impact of the coronavirus pandemic has reminded us as a nation of how much we owe to the thousands of NHS workers who have gone far beyond the call of duty this year.
“They have worked tirelessly around the clock, with humility and compassion, in the most challenging of circumstances, putting their own lives on the line to help others.
“It is fitting that we are here today at Britain’s oldest hospital to thank and celebrate our NHS staff and to honour them with a Pride of Britain award.”
The presentation was filmed for the closing moments of the Daily Mirror Pride of Britain Awards, which celebrate the achievements of the nation’s unsung heroes and will be broadcast on Sunday at 9pm on ITV.
Thousands of members of the public nominated all the frontline NHS heroes to receive a special recognition award.
Among the six health workers who received the award were Keisha Mills, an intensive care matron, Marion Jones, a healthcare assistant, and Dr Simon Finney, an intensive care consultant – all from Barts Health NHS Trust.
And the Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust provided Heder Lopes Landim, a porter at Barnet Hospital, Martha Sarpong, an intensive therapy unit support nurse, and Charlotte Greenfield, a critical care physiotherapist.
The duchess said: “Through our conversations with frontline workers during the pandemic, we have been inspired by their stories of bravery and selflessness.
“Many have had to leave their families for weeks on end, some have come out of retirement to help, while others have stepped into new roles to play their part in the fight against coronavirus.
“And it is not just the medical teams – all NHS staff have played a crucial role through this time.
“During lockdown, we joined people up and down the country to applaud the NHS and our keyworkers each week. Their hard work still goes on and we remain indebted to them for all they do.”
As the royal couple presented the award, William added: “We cannot thank you enough. On behalf of a grateful nation, it is a tremendous honour for Catherine and I to present this special recognition award to the army of dedicated NHS staff.”
Ms Greenfield said afterwards: “It’s incredibly flattering to be one of the people to receive the Pride of Britain award on behalf of the NHS.
“What was really nice was that the duke and duchess were asking us questions, they were genuinely interested.
“I don’t think Prince William knew there was a different branch of physiotherapy in terms of respiratory, so I was explaining to him. I educated him a little on my role.
“I explained exactly how it had been. I kept using the word sweaty to him, but it really was. They were absolutely lovely and kept asking genuine questions.”