After nearly three months of conducting engagements remotely, Prince William has returned to public duties. The Duke of Cambridge stepped out on Tuesday, June 16, to meet with staff from the King’s Lynn Ambulance Station at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Norfolk. The royal dad of three, who has been self-isolating with wife Kate Middleton and their young children at their Norfolk home, Anmer Hall, since March, was on hand to thank ambulance workers who have been responding to the COVID-19 outbreak.
William was seen checking his own temperature upon his arrival to the ambulance station. The future King had to stop himself from shaking hands. He admitted, “I’m still fighting the urge to shake hands. I’m keeping my hands by my side.” While practicing social distancing, the former air ambulance pilot was told how the East of England Ambulance Service Trust has been able to continue providing services to 6.2 million people amid the pandemic and how it has been supported by members of the public, local businesses and volunteering networks. Prince George ’s father also heard from the crew about the impact on their mental health and wellbeing. The mental health of key workers has been important to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.
Back in April, William and Kate launched “Our Frontline” to provide mental health support to frontline workers. The initiative supported by The Royal Foundation allows frontline staff and key workers to call or text trained volunteers and access specially developed online resources, toolkits and advice to support their mental health and emotional well-being during these challenging times. “Over the past few weeks, millions of frontline workers across the UK have put their physical and mental health on the line to protect us all during the coronavirus pandemic. Every day they confront traumatic situations at the same time as having to contend with their own worries about the risks to themselves and their families,” the Duke said in a statement at the time.
The Duke of Cambridge has been visiting the Kings Lynn Ambulance Station at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital @EastEnglandAmb this afternoon to thank staff for their work on the frontline during #COVID-19 #coronavirus pic.twitter.com/wkj5dw7X7Q— Roya Nikkhah (@RoyaNikkhah) June 16, 2020
William continued, “That takes a real toll, and as I’ve seen for myself through my work with the Air Ambulance, without the right support at the right time the challenges they face will only be greater. Catherine and I, together with The Royal Foundation, will do all we can to support Our Frontline. This work will be our top priority for the months ahead.”
The Duke of Cambridge wasn’t the only British royal who resumed in-person engagements this week. On Tuesday, Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall carried out a “socially-distanced visit” to Gloucestershire Royal Hospital, where they thanked key staff who have been working on the frontlines of the pandemic.
“There is nothing like being able to thank the NHS staff face-to-face even if the choreography is a little bit different! They are Britain at its best,” Camilla said. The Duchess of Cornwall also revealed to ITV that she recently reunited with her grandchildren for the first time since the UK’s coronavirus lockdown. She shared (via HOLA! USA’s sister brand HELLO!), “First time last weekend, not hug them but see them, it was a great treat.”