The Duke of Kent has spoken of his frustration at having to miss royal visits because of the coronavirus pandemic. His comments came in a special message recorded for the RNLI in which he praised the organisation for its tenacity and courage in what he described as ”one of the worst storms” it has ever faced.
The Queen’s cousin, who has been patron of the rescue service for half a century, said he was speaking to every member of the RNLI in his recording which was shared on the organisation’s social media. The Duke told them ”your response to the public health crisis has been truly remarkable.”
But he also reflected on the impact that the coronavirus pandemic has had and said ”I personally find it most frustrating to have to cancel or at least postpone a number of planned visits to lifeboat stations, which I was looking forward to.”
The RNLI, originally known as the Royal National Lifeboat Institution, still has volunteer crews on call around the UK. However, the charity has had to close all its shops, museums and visitor centres and the fundraising on which it relies heavily has been severely curtailed.
In his message, the Duke addressed the financial impact of the pandemic, noting how volunteers had been working hard to find new ways of bringing in funds and acknowledging the difficult conditions paid employees may find themselves in if they face furlough. He spoke of his huge pride in them, adding ”to you all, my praise for your tenacity, patience and courage which could not be higher….they have been in the best traditions of the RNLI.”
And he went on to underline the emotional impact the pandemic has had, saying ”we have all experienced frustration, fear and sadness”. However, the Duke also looked to the future, adding ”I hope also that something positive has come out of it, a sense of accomplishment. Because you are all part of one big crew that has kept the RNLI afloat.”
The Duke of Kent has been a high profile patron of the organisation, visiting many of its stations every year.