The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have marked Canada Day with a video call to healthcare workers.
The couple spoke to staff at Fraser Health’s Surrey Memorial Hospital, British Columbia, to hear about their experiences working to combat the Covid-19 outbreak.
Speaking from their home at Anmer Hall, Norfolk, Prince William, 38, shared his hopes of visiting the hospital in person while Kate, 38, said she has ‘huge admiration’ for ‘everything they are doing’ and asked about their mental health.
The video call took place on June 23 but was released today to coincide with Canada’s national day, which is celebrated each year on July 1.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have taken part in a video call to mark Canada Day
The couple spoke to staff at Fraser Health’s Surrey Memorial Hospital, British Columbia, pictured, to hear about their experiences working to combat the Covid-19 outbreak
Speaking on the call, William said: ‘I just wanted to just touch base and say how proud we are of all of you and everyone on the front line who have led the way, very stoically, very bravely and put patient care right at the top of the list, and done a fantastic job.
‘So, well done to all of you, and I hope Catherine and I can come and visit you guys one day and say that to you in person.’
Kate added: ‘It’s an amazing role that you’re playing and a hugely tough one as well, so we’re in huge admiration for everything you’re doing.’
The duchess described it as ‘heartbreaking’ when she heard that a patient’s wife had sung to him from a phone held in a bag as staff did their utmost to keep loved ones connected during the crisis.
Kate said: ‘That’s heartbreaking to hear. You guys see that and feel that on a daily basis. How do you manage yourself? Are you all OK?’
The video call took place on June 23 but was released today to coincide with Canada’s national day, which is celebrated each year on July 1. Pictured, the couple on the call
William and Kate experienced what many have encountered when using video calls during lockdown when they realised the hospital workers could not see their faces on screen at the start of the call.
‘Can you see us?’ the duke asked, before the workers chorused: ‘No, we cannot.’
With the problem quickly sorted, William and Kate’s appearance was greeted with cheers and waves.
Asking how staff’s mental health had been supported, William said: ‘Maybe some of you have been pushed to areas that you’ve maybe not gone before because of the worry, stress, anxiety, and what’s happened in the last few months?’
Dr Gregory Haljan, head of the hospital’s critical care, and regional medical director for research for Fraser Health, told the royal couple: ‘We’ve made it through the surge and now we’re into the recovery phase where we’re trying to take stock of all our stories and what we’ve been through and find the meaning in everything we’ve lost and everything we’ve gained so we can build some resilience for whatever comes next.’
Speaking from their home at Anmer Hall, Norfolk, Prince William, 38, shared his hopes of visiting the hospital in person. Pictured, the couple on their last royal tour to Canada in 2016
The couple also heard from health care social worker Sunny Dulai, who is six months pregnant, about the challenges she faced during the pandemic, with a smiling Kate telling her: ‘Good luck, Sunny, going forward … with your new baby.’
William asked: ‘Sunny, is it right in saying a little birdie says you’re expecting in September? How have you found it? How has it been working?’
Ms Dulai told the duke and duchess – parents to Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis – that dealing with the Covid-19 crisis had affected her mental health after not being able to see her three siblings, but that she had had amazing support from her team.
Fraser Health is one of the five regional health authorities in the province, delivering hospital and community-based health services to over 1.8 million people.
Canada Day is a national holiday celebrated each year on July 1.
It marks the day the dominion of Canada was created in 1867 when the British North America Act united the British colonies of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick with the province of Canada to form a new nation.