A charity boss has told how the young Princess Eugenie was left profoundly moved after visiting her teenage counterparts suffering from cancer in hospital.
The president of the Teenage Cancer Trust said the Queen’s granddaughter showed great maturity meeting cancer patients for the first time and trying to raise their morale in the darkest of circumstances.
Speaking on the eve of Eugenie’s wedding Myrna Whiteson said she hoped the Princess, 28, would carry on her role as patron of the charity following her marriage to Jack Brooksbank, and that her husband would be able to share her charitable duties.
Mrs Whiteson, who founded the Teenage Cancer Trust with her husband Dr Adrian Whiteson, said the two girls had become involved in its work from an early age through their mother, the Duchess of York.
She told The Daily Telegraph: “The Duchess of York officially opened our first specialist cancer unit in 1990 and has attended almost all of our 28 subsequent new unit openings across the UK, with Princess Eugenie and her sister Princess Beatrice accompanying her on numerous occasions.
“We have had the pleasure of watching the Princess grow up and blossom into the beautiful bride we know she will be today. She’s been a warm and dedicated Patron of this charity, always sensitive to the needs of young people with cancer and eager to help and support them.”
Mrs Whiteson, who will be attending the wedding at St George’s Chapel on Friday with her husband, added: “The girls knew all about the charity when they were growing up and Princess Eugenie even came along to one of our treatment centres, at UCL, on her 18th birthday. I should think it was very difficult for her to see her contemporaries suffering in a situation nobody expects at that age.
“I think it would have been both upsetting and uplifting for the princesses to come face to face with it, but they have been wonderful
“During all these visits they both take their time, they don’t make anybody feel rushed or harried. They pay attention to the patients, the families and the nursing staff, which is very good for their morale as well of course.”
Princess Eugenie was made an Honorary Patron for Teenage Cancer Trust in 2016. To mark the occasion, she visited its specialist unit at University College Hospital where she was welcomed by young people receiving treatment for cancer there.
Mrs Whiteson said even very ill patients would feel boosted by a visit from the two princesses.
“Sometimes patients who are not at all well don’t feel up to having visitors yet. But then they see Eugenie or Beatrice talking to other teenagers on the ward and they perk up and say they wouldn't mind a visit after all.”
She added: “We consider the Duchess and the Princesses to be part of the team at Teenage Cancer Trust and Value tremendously what they do. Jack [Brooksbank] is a charming young man and I hope he’ll also become involved in our work.”