Prince William told TV presenter Kate Garraway he and his wife wanted to give her a hug after hearing of her family’s Covid nightmare.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were visibly moved as the Good Morning Britain host told how husband Derek is still seriously ill in hospital seven months after being struck down with coronavirus.
They listened intently as she discussed the impact that the disease has had on her family and how their children Darcey, 14, and Billy, 11, are still not allowed to see him because covid rules only allow one visitor is allowed for each patient.
William said: “You are doing amazingly though. If it wasn’t for social distancing we would both give you a hug.”
The royal couple met Kate on a surprise visit to a top London hospital to present a Mirror Pride of Britain award to the NHS frontline heroes.
As they met the TV presenter, who was there to introduce them to NHS representatives for the show, the Duchess of Cambridge told her: “I think you’re amazing to do this as I know you’ve had such a hard time yourself.”
The Duchess asked how the family were coping under the stress.
The 53-year-old presenter, who has returned to work to try to keep life as normal as possible, replied: “I think we are all doing OK but it’s very difficult because you can’t visit that often and the children haven’t got to visit Derek. And I think that’s a huge pressure for everyone – mental and physical health.”
Kate also discussed how William’s father, Prince Charles had been diagnosed with Covid at the same time as her husband in March. William said: “Yes, my father had it really early on.”
She thanked him the couple for sparing the time to join her at Britain’s oldest hospital St Bartholomews, in the City of london, to celebrate the NHS medics.
William said: “We’re always keen to help, especially this year with everything going on. It’s been difficult for a lot of people.”
The NHS presentation, which was filmed last week, will be the climax of the Daily Mirror’s Pride of Britain Awards, in partnership with TSB, which will be screened on Sunday at 9pm on ITV.
Millions of viewers have followed Kate’s turmoil as she has bravely given updates on Derek’s condition on GMB.
After the presentation, which was socially distanced with the royals wearing masks, Kate told how honoured she was to watch them present the award to NHS workers, saying: “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.
“It was a great honour for me, I got to spend a bit of time with them.”
The sentiments echo the thoughts of many as the second wave of coronavirus approaches, with more than 45,000 deaths so far and 9,520 people still in hospital.
Kate’s experience is an example of the heartache so many have felt during the pandemic and brings home the tragic consequences even to the future King of England and his wife.
During the peak of the pandemic almost 20,000 people were in hospital with the condition and more than 1,000 people dying a day.
Medics across the country battled ceaselessly to save lives as the government was criticised for failing to provide them all with adequate PPE.
And now, with yesterday’s daily death toll at 310, the prospect of a second wave is on the horizon, and yet again our NHs heroes are ready to fight back.
Kate paid tribute to the medical staff who helped her family in their darkest moments. “There’s no doubt that the NHS saved Derek, my husband’s life” she said.
“He wouldn’t be here without individuals that have kept him alive. You can never find enough words can you, to say thank you for that? But I do want to.”
Don’t miss the Daily Mirror Pride of Britain Awards 2020, in partnership with TSB, on Sunday, 9pm, ITV.