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British RoyalsCoronavirusThe Cambridges

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge attend garden party for NHS anniversary

William and Kate, Duke and Duchess of Cambridge
i-Images/ Pool

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge enjoyed a tea party at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King’s Lynn, Norfolk on Sunday, joining health care workers on the 72nd anniversary of the foundation of the NHS to thank them for their pandemic response.

William and Kate met with doctors, nurses and other healthcare workers and told chief nurse Libby McManus, “Everyone appreciates what you do. The NHS is a fantastic organisation.”

The Queen Elizabeth Hospital has so far treated 450 patients with COVID-19 during the pandemic and 291 of those patients have been discharged. The hospital celebrates its 40th anniversary on 22 July 2020.  

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Among the people the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge met were Suzie Vaughan, one of the Hospital’s Operating Department Practitioners, who explained ”I worked on the COVID Intensive Treatment Unit and COVID Emergency Department during the pandemic. The past three months have been exhausting physically and emotionally and rhe Duke and Duchess’s visit is a recognition of the hard work and compassion that everybody has put in to keep our patients safe.”

Suzie Vaughan had to leave her two daughters, Hettie and Bella, with her sister while she worked and isolated away from them and went viral on social media after she was able to reunite with them after nine weeks apart.

She revealed that, “It was a difficult decision but I wanted to keep the girls safe so they moved in with my sister.” Her daughters accompanied her to the tea party, where they met William and Kate. Vaughan told the royals that “They both always wanted to meet a real-life princess.”

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William and Kate chatted with the girls for a few minutes and Kate thanked Vaughan for her work, saying, “You did a really good job. It’s amazing how everybody pulled together.”

William and Kate posted about their visit on their social media accounts, writing, “Whether you are existing staff, former staff members who came out of retirement, volunteers or key workers – we thank you for the resilience, perseverance and hope you’ve shown our nation.”

Kensington Palace noted that the royals had also taken part in Sunday’s Clap for Carers at their Anmer Hall home, a few miles from the hospital.

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The Hospital’s Trust chairman, Professor Steve Barnett, said: “The past few months have been incredibly challenging for everyone at QEH, and for the wider NHS, as we have responded to this global pandemic.  I could not be more proud of how our staff have responded – always putting patients and their safety first. As the nation celebrates the NHS’s 72nd birthday and we mark our own hospital’s 40th anniversary, today’s visit by The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge is a testament to the high regard we all have for those who care for us when we need it the most.

“Both our staff and the local community, who have given us so much support over the past few months, should be rightly proud of themselves. We have an incredibly special relationship with our local community in West Norfolk, and today’s clap was about saying thank you for the unrivalled support we have received in recent months, for which we could not be more grateful.”

The National Health Service was founded on July 5th 1948 to provide comprehensive, universal healthcare, free at the point of delivery.

About author

Jess is the Senior Royal Reporter and Editorial Assistant at Royal Central. Her interest in royalty started in her teenage years, coinciding with The Queen's Golden Jubilee in 2002 and grew from there. She specializes in the British Royal Family (with emphasis on the Cambridges) and the Danish Royal Family, and has provided royal commentary for media outlets in Canada, the United States, the UK and Australia.