The Duchess of Cambridge has spoken of how the nation is “indebted” to thousands of heroic key workers and NHS frontline staff as a new national lockdown looms.
In a preview for tonight’s Pride of Britain Awards, Kate appeared alongside Prince William as she told how the country is “indebted” to key workers as “their hard work still goes on”.
The Duchess also recalls how, during the first lockdown, she and her family joined millions in the weekly doorstep applause for the NHS heroes and key workers who saved lives and kept the country going.
In the video clip, she says: “During the lockdown, we joined people up and down the country to applaud the NHS and key workers each week.
“Their hard work still goes on and we remain indebted to them for all they do.”
In a subtle tribute to the NHS, she is wearing a blue blouse covered with small rainbows which have become an unofficial symbol of support for frontline care workers during the pandemic.
The royal couple made a special visit to Britain’s oldest hospital, London’s St Bartholomew’s, founded almost 900 years ago, to present representatives of the whole of the NHS with a special recognition award for tonight’s Daily Mirror Pride of Britain Awards, in partnership with TSB, on ITV at 9pm.
In the newly-released clip of the presentation, Prince William said: “It is fitting that we are here today at Britain’s oldest hospital to thank and celebrate our NHS staff and to honour them with a Pride of Britain award.”
During the filming, which took place outside the hospital because of coronavirus regulations, they were introduced to six NHS representatives by TV presenter Kate Garraway whose husband Derek has been in intensive care with the disease for seven months.
They discussed with the frontline heroes the challenges of coping with the pandemic before presenting the award.
Addressing the TV cameras, Prince William said: “The devastating impact of the coronavirus pandemic has reminded us as a nation of how much we owe to the thousands of NHS workers who have gone far beyond the call of duty this year.
“They have worked tirelessly around the clock, with humility and compassion, in the most challenging of circumstances, putting their own lives on the line to help others. “
The Duchess of Cambridge said: “Through our conversations with frontline workers during the pandemic, we have been inspired by their stories of bravery and selflessness.
“Many have had to leave their families for weeks on end, some have come out of retirement to help, while others have stepped into new roles to play their part in the fight against coronavirus.
“And it is not just the medical teams – all NHS staff have played a crucial role through this time.”
As the royal couple presented the award, which was on a table next to them, the Duke added: “We cannot thank you enough. On behalf of a grateful nation, it is a tremendous honour for Catherine and I to present this special recognition award to the army of dedicated NHS staff.”
The six frontline NHS heroes, representing the nation’s health service were (from Barts Health Trust) Keisha Mills, an intensive care matron, Marion Jones, a health care assistant, and Dr Simon Finney, an intensive care consultant, and (from the Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust) Heder Lopes Landim, a porter at Barnet Hospital; Martha Sarpong, an ITU support nurse, and Charlotte Greenfield, a critical care physio.
Charlotte Greenfield, a critical care physiotherapist at London’s Royal Free Hospital, which was one of the busiest hospitals in the country during the first national lockdown, said: “It’s incredibly flattering to be one of the people to receive the Pride of Britain award on behalf of the NHS.
“What was really nice was that the Duke and Duchess were asking us questions, they were genuinely interested.
“I don’t think Prince William knew there was a different branch of physiotherapy in terms of respiratory, so I was explaining to him. I educated him a little on my role. I explained exactly how it had been. I kept using the word sweaty to him, but it really was.
“They were absolutely lovely and kept asking genuine questions.”
The presentation is the climax of tonight’s Pride of Britain Awards which has been hosted for 21 years by Carol Vorderman.
Prince Charles will also be taking part tonight to celebrate 20 years of the Prince’s Trust Young Achiever award and to mark a major milestone of his charity supporting over a million young people since he started it in 1976.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his fiancée Carrie Symonds also make their first TV appearance together on tonight’s show to thank the NHS for their work and for saving his life after he needed intensive care for covid in April and for delivering their first child.
Among many showbusiness stars honouring the nation’s unsung heroes tonight are Ant and Dec, Stephen Fry, Dame Helen Mirren, Sir Trevor McDonald, Michael Sheen, Holly Willoughby and American singer Taylor Swift.
The Daily Mirror Pride of Britain Awards, in partnership with TSB, is broadcast tonight at 9pm on ITV.