“The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visited the London Ambulance Centre in Croydon to meet staff who have been taking NHS 111 calls from the public, and thank them for the vital work they are doing,” the official Kensington Palace Twitter account wrote on Friday, March 20.
William, 37, also released a statement following his trip to the facility with Kate, 38. “Catherine and I were proud to visit staff working at NHS 111, to pass on our personal thanks, along with those of my grandmother [Queen Elizabeth II] and father [Prince Charles], to staff working around the clock to provide care and advice to those that need it most,” he said. “The last few weeks, and more recent days have been understandably concerning with the continuing spread of coronavirus. But it’s at times like this when we realise just how much the NHS represents the very best of our country and society.”
The couple talked with staffers, including the chief executive of the London Ambulance Service, about the increased demand for their work. Call centers in Croydon and Barking have received five times the usual rate of calls due to the pandemic.
Earlier this week, the queen, 93, guaranteed the U.K. that her family will assist in recovery efforts surrounding the illness. “Many of us will need to find new ways of staying in touch with each other and making sure that loved ones are safe. I am certain we are up to that challenge,” she said in a Thursday, March 19, statement. “You can be assured that my family and I stand ready to play our part.”
William and Kate have been directly affected by the virus, with Prince George, 6, and Princess Charlotte, 4, making the shift to home-schooling amid the outbreak. The royal duo, who tied the knot in April 2011, are also parents of son Prince Louis, 22 months.
The Duke of Cambridge was the first senior royal to speak out about the pandemic. “Whenever and wherever adversity strikes, the people of the UK have a unique ability to pull together,” he said on the Kensington Palace Instagram account on Wednesday, March 18. “The way that local communities support those affected shows the very best of our values and human nature.”
Scroll to see more photos from William and Kate’s call center visit.