LONDON (Reuters) – Queen Elizabeth and other senior members of Britain’s royal family joined together on Tuesday to thank nurses around the world for their efforts in the COVID-19 pandemic.
In calls to mark International Nurses’ Day, the royals posted videos and chatted to healthcare workers from Australia and India to Africa and the Caribbean.
“This is rather an important day,” the 94-year-old queen told Professor Kathleen McCourt, President of the Commonwealth Nurses and Midwives Federation, saying nurses have “obviously had a very important part to play recently”.
Royal commentators said it was the first time during her 68-year reign that audio of a telephone call involving the queen had ever been released.
Buckingham Palace said the royals had spoken to nurses and healthcare workers in Britain, Australia, India, Malawi, Sierra Leone, Bahamas, Cyprus, and Tanzania.
“You’re a huge inspiration to everybody. A huge thank you from us all here,” said Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge, during one of seven calls she made with Sophie, the Countess of Wessex, wife of the queen’s youngest son Prince Edward.
Other royals who took part included heir to the throne Prince Charles and his wife Camilla, the queen’s daughter Princess Anne and the queen’s cousin, Princess Alexandra.
“From the bottom of my heart thank you for everything you’re doing,” said Kate’s husband Prince William in a call to staff at a hospital in London. “I hope you know how appreciative everyone is of what you’re all doing.”
On Monday night, a giant image of Florence Nightingale was projected onto the buildings of Guys and St Thomas’ hospitals in central London to mark 200 years since her birth and her legacy to modern nursing.
(Reporting by Michael Holden; editing by Stephen Addison)