Prince William Has First Virtual Engagement of the New Year at His Country Home amid Lockdown

Simon Perry
·2 min read

PA Kate Middleton and Prince William on the second day of their Royal Train tour.

Prince William is starting the New Year just as he finished the last one — by reaching out to healthcare workers who are coping with the coronavirus pandemic and thanking them for their continued efforts as hospitals are under strain yet again.

William called Homerton University hospital in London on Thursday to talk with health workers about how they are facing the challenges of the new wave of COVID-19 cases that have swept the country. On Friday, the U.K. announced its highest daily number of COVID-related deaths of the pandemic, with 1,325 fatalities.

He also spoke with them about the mental health support they are receiving as they face severe strain amid the pandemic.

Kensington Palace Prince William talks with staffers from Homerton University Hospital

In the past week, Homerton Hospital has seen its highest number of admissions since the pandemic began, with over 200 COVID patients currently being cared for. Staffers have moved to new roles within the hospital to cope with the ongoing pressure on frontline workers. Those staffers told William, 38, about the difficulties they are currently facing, and how this time compares to their experiences during previous spikes in transmission rates.

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They spoke about the psychological impact of dealing with the pandemic over the past year, and some of the measures which have been put in place at the hospital to support staff wellbeing. One of those is the creation of a "Wobble Room" in the hospital for staff to regroup.

William and Kate Middleton have been at the forefront of supporting mental wellbeing for healthcare workers and other staffers, and set up Our Frontline online resources for them at the height of the first lockdown in spring last year.

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The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are also joint patrons of NHS Charities Together, which provided the funds to help set up the "Wobble Room" at the hospital. Funds from the organization have also paid for breakfast boxes sent to hospital and community staff, and a new breakout room for emergency room staff.

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Chris Jackson/Getty Prince William and Kate Middleton with students in Wales

In December, William and Kate, who turns 39 on Saturday, toured Britain on the royal train extending their thanks to health workers, teachers and other frontline staff for all they have done during the pandemic.