The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have praised NHS staff across the country as they awarded them a Pride of Britain award.
Prince William and Kate, both 38, presented the award to six representatives during a visit to St Bartholomew’s Hospital in the City of London, during a visit on 20 October.
The couple praised frontline workers for their “humility and compassion” shown during the coronavirus pandemic.
The duke and duchess were in central London to tour some of the sites of the public exhibition of Hold Still, the lockdown photography project Kate ran in conjunction with the National Portrait Gallery.
They were spotted filming with Kate Garraway, who later revealed on Good Morning Britain that they were lending their time to the annual award ceremony.
Garraway introduced the royals to the staff and the couple also gave their support to the TV presenter, whose husband Derek Draper is still ill in hospital with COVID-19.
A 'pinch me' moment for our staff members Helder, Martha and Charlotte, accepting a @PrideOfBritain award from the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge @KensingtonRoyal on behalf of NHS staff across the country. Sunday 1 Nov 9pm, ITV. #celebratingheroes. https://t.co/egVFkfisFN pic.twitter.com/rMC88ujPlf
— Royal Free London (@RoyalFreeNHS) October 28, 2020
According to The Mirror, William told her: “You are doing amazingly though. If it wasn’t for social distancing we would both give you a hug.”
The pair spoke about how William’s father Prince Charles caught coronavirus about the same time as Draper, though he recovered within a few weeks.
Presenting the award, the duke 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.
“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.”
The piece will be shown in the closing moments of the Pride of Britain award ceremony which will air on ITV on at 9pm on Sunday 1 November.
Watch: Prince William visits Royal Marsden in Sutton
Thousands of people nominated NHS workers for the award, which was given to Keisha Mills, an intensive care matron, Marion Jones, a healthcare assistant, and Dr Simon Finney, an intensive care consultant – all from Barts Health NHS Trust.
Heder Lopes Landim, a porter at Barnet Hospital, Martha Sarpong, an intensive therapy unit support nurse, and Charlotte Greenfield, a critical care physiotherapist, represented staff from the Royal Free Hospital.
The duchess 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.
“During lockdown, we joined people up and down the country to applaud the NHS and our key workers each week. Their hard work still goes on and we remain indebted to them for all they do.”
As they presented the award, William said: “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.”
William and Kate, who have three children, shifted the focus of their royal work to the mental health of frontline workers, including NHS staff, as the nation went into lockdown in April.
They spent the early months of the pandemic in their Norfolk home of Anmer Hall, but are now in London, where any of their engagements will be subject to the restrictions of Tier 2 of the government guidelines on lockdown.
Watch: Duke and Duchess of Cambridge meet frontline NHS workers