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The Cambridges

Prince William follows in his mother’s footsteps 30 years later

Photo: Charlie Proctor/Royal Central

30 years after his mother, Diana, Princess of Wales, visited Royal Marsden Hospital in Sutton, the Duke of Cambridge visited and paid tribute to his late mum.

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The Duke said he was “delighted” as he laid a piece of foundation stone at the country’s largest cancer hospital marking the start of construction for the Trust’s Oak Cancer Centre. His mother Diana had done the same when she visited the hospital 30 years prior, laying a stone to commemorate the building of the Chelsea Wing.

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The Duke’s visit was to launch a fundraiser for the cancer centre which is set to be a research and treatment facility. It will place over 400 researchers under the same roof as patients and help to accelerate the developments of new cancer research. The Duke launched the private fundraising phase of the Cancer Charity’s appeal in November 2015, and to finish the project, at least £8 million is needed.

The Duke, who is President of The Royal Marsden, has made multiple trips to the hospitals over the years. In 2005, he worked for two days at their children’s unit, and last year, he put on blue scrubs to watch two operations be done with robotic surgical technology. The Trust operates within two London locations, with the Institute of Cancer Research, Europe’s largest comprehensive cancer centre; they see thousands of patients every year.

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During the visit, the Duke praised workers for their response during the pandemic.

“Every time I visit the Marsden, I am struck not just by the significant advances that are being made in research and treatment, but also by the hope and belief embodied by each patient and member of staff, even in the darkest of times.

“I am personally delighted to be with you today to lay the foundation stone of the Oak Centre, thirty years after my mother did the very same thing at The Royal Marsden in Chelsea, commemorating the building of the Chelsea Wing.”

William went on to add, “Earlier this morning I was privileged to meet patients who all spoke about the exceptional care they received, and how they felt safe in very difficult and often frightening times.”

“Despite the challenging times we are living in, it is so important we take the time to acknowledge the tremendous work that continues all around us. And that irrespective of the global pandemic, there remains hope for the many thousands of people dealing with the effects of cancer,” he said.

Dame Cally Palmer DBE, Chief Executive of The Royal Marsden, also spoke where she noted the Sutton hospital was opened by William’s grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II, 57 years ago.

“It remains an outstanding hospital but now it’s time to modernise for the 21st century and build a state-of-the-art facility to complement the existing facilities and help us meet some of the most pressing challenges in cancer research and treatment today.  We are very grateful for [William’s] continued support for our patients and the work that we do. I’d also like to thank The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity and all its supporters, without whom this wouldn’t be possible.”

The Oak Cancer Centre is due to open in 2022.

About author

My name is Sydney Zatz and I am a University of Iowa graduate. I graduated with a degree in journalism and sports studies, and a minor in sport and recreation management. A highlight of my college career was getting the chance to study abroad in London and experiencing royal history firsthand. I have a passion for royals, royal history, and journalism, which led me to want to write for Royal Central.