The Duke of Cambridge undertook his first public engagement since the United Kingdom went on strict lockdown, visiting an ambulance crew at the King’s Lynn Ambulance Station at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Norfolk.
William met with the ambulance crew to discuss the team’s mental health and wellbeing during the COVID-19 pandemic and to discuss “the support they have received from members of the public and local businesses, as well as help from volunteering networks,” according to Kensington Palace.
Upon his arrival, in keeping with social distancing and health guidelines, the Duke took his temperature and kept two metres distance between himself and others. He told the ambulance team, “I’m still fighting the urge to shake hands. I’m keeping my hands by my side.”
He also told the crew, “You are the first people on the scene so by osmosis you take in emotions around you, it’s how best you make sure the training is there from the beginning.”
In speaking about the UK’s response to the pandemic and how they banded together to support frontline workers, like the weekly Clap for Carers campaign — which he, Kate and the children took part in on the BBC — William said it was a “powerful initiative” and that “I look forward to messages when we can drink more and go out to the local pub and have a pint.”
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and their children have been social distancing at Anmer Hall on the Sandringham Estate, which is about 20 minutes away from the Queen Elizabeth Hospital.
Of William’s visit, paramedic Aimee Horton told the East of England Ambulance Service, “It was very thoughtful for The Duke to choose to visit us and nice to know that we are in his thoughts.”
According to Kensington Palace, the East of England Ambulance Service provides round-the-clock services to 6.2 million people and operates out of 130 sites.
A senior paramedic, Rebecca Endersby, said: “We are all proud of the work we have done at EEAST during the pandemic. The ambulance service has always considered itself as a family which looks after each other. COVID-19 has shown just how much we care about one another and we are delighted that His Royal Highness recognises this.”
“We were honoured to receive The Duke to meet with staff today,” said Terry Hicks, the Head of Operations for EEAST’s operations in Norfolk and Waveney.
“The Duke was interested to hear of the crews’ experiences of working through the pandemic and how this had impacted on the wellbeing of themselves and their families, and of the support mechanisms which are available.
“We would like to thank The Duke for continuing to raise awareness of mental wellbeing, especially among NHS and emergency services workers.”