Kate and Prince William have taken the centre stage at this year’s Pride of Britain Awards to honour the efforts thousands of NHS staff continue to make to tackle the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge presented NHS frontlines and staff the award on behalf of the whole nation, following through with their promise to stand by key workers in this time of crisis.
The ceremony took place at Britain’s oldest and prestigious St Bartholomew’s Hospital in London.
Prince William said in an impassioned speech: “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.”
Over the past few months, Kate and William held conversations with NHS workers and medical staff around the Commonwealth to learn about how they are fighting coronavirus as well as taking care of themselves under extraordinary circumstances.
Recalling their previous chats, Kate 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 key workers each week.
“Their hard work still goes on and we remain indebted to them for all they do.”
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Prince 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.”
As they delivered their award at the annual ceremony, Kate and Prince William also offered their support and sympathy to ITV presenter Kate Garraway, whose husband Derek fell seriously ill after contracting coronavirus eight months ago.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge headed to St Barts earlier this month to meet Joyce Duah, an amateur photographer and specialist oncology pharmacist working at the hospital.
Ms Duah submitted a picture portraying two of her hard-working colleagues to the Hold Still competition launched by Kate in May.
Her snap was shortlisted in the national competition among 99 other photographs.
Kate and Prince William first spoke about the “extraordinary job” NHS staff was doing in April.
Speaking to the BBC, the Duchess said: “It’s going to dramatically change how we all value and see our frontline workers.
“That is one of the main positives you can take from this.
“They do an extraordinary job. It goes unrecognised daily and now I think all of us as a nation can really see how hard they work and how vital their work is.”
In April, the couple also pledged to make the mental wellbeing of key workers their “top priority” as they backed Our Frontline, a 24/7 online platforms were those working on the frontline can open up about their mental health and seek help.