The Queen has joined other members of the Royal Family in calling nurses around the world to thank them for their efforts in the face of the coronavirus crisis.
She and other royals took part in the unprecedented series of calls, messages and video chats to mark International Nurses Day and the “very important part” the healthcare profession has had to play recently.
The Queen rang Professor Kathleen McCourt, president of the Commonwealth Nurses and Midwives Federation and fellow of the Royal College of Nursing, from Windsor Castle.
In a recording of the telephone conversation, the monarch could be heard saying: “This is rather an important day… because obviously they’ve had very important part to play recently.”
Also contacting nurses to express their gratitude were the Prince of Wales, the Duchess of Cornwall, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, the Princess Royal, the Countess of Wessex and Princess Alexandra.
In a montage of the calls, messages and videos posted on social media, Kate said: “I don’t know how you manage to do this and keep the show on the road despite the extra pressures you’re all under and the challenging conditions – it’s just shown how vital the role that nurses play across the world. You should be so proud of the work that you do.”
Charles, in an excerpt from his video message to all nurses, said: “On this International Nurses Day, my family and I want to join in the chorus of thank yous to nursing and midwifery staff across the country and indeed the world.”
Many of the nurses could be seen wearing face masks, as they discussed the impact of the COVID-19 crisis with the royals.
A palace spokeswoman said: “On every call, the Royal Family reiterated their thanks to nurses across the Commonwealth for the incredible work they do on a daily basis.”
Kate is patron of the Nursing Now campaign, the global initiative to raise the status and profile of nurses, while Sophie is a global ambassador of the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness.
They spoke to nurses across the Commonwealth, including those at Gidgee Healing in Queensland, Australia; HIV and maternal health nurses at the Phalombe District Hospital in Malawi; mental health nurses at Sandilands Rehabilitation Centre in Nassau in the Bahamas, those working at Aberdeen Women’s Centre in Freetown, Sierra Leone, and the LV Prasad Eye Institute and Apollo Hospitals, Hyderabad, India.
Anita Kamara, fistula supervisor and nurse at the women’s centre in Sierra Leone, said: “Having the future queen and the countess speak to us today was really special.”
International Nurses Day takes place on Florence Nightingale’s birthday, with this year marking the 200th anniversary of her birth.