Prince William Made His First In-Person Appearance Since the Start of Lockdown

Prince William carried out his first in-person engagement since lockdown began, visiting ambulance workers at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Norfolk.

kings lynn, england june 16 prince william, duke of cambridge meets paramedic staff, maintaining social distancing, from the east of england ambulance service trust during a visit to the ambulance station on june 16, 2020 in kings lynn, england the purpose of the visit was to thank staff from the east of england ambulance service trust for their work and dedication responding to the covid 19 outbreak photo by victoria jones wpa poolgetty images
(Image credit: WPA Pool)

Amid the relaxation of lockdown measures in the U.K., Prince William carried out his first in-person royal visit since March, after months of Zoom engagements from his Anmer Hall country home. On Tuesday, William visited ambulance workers at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Kings Lynn, Norfolk—a short distance from Anmer Hall—to thank them for their work on the coronavirus frontlines and hear about the mental health impacts of the pandemic.

As ITV reports, William spoke to staff from the East of England Ambulance Service Trust, where they shared how they adapted to the pandemic and discussed how "members of the public, local businesses and volunteering networks" had supported them. As photos from the visit indicate, the Duke of Cambridge and the ambulance workers he met observed social distancing advice throughout, keeping at a safe distance from one another:

William also talked with the ambulance staff about the mental health impacts of the coronavirus pandemic, in keeping with his ongoing focus on mental wellbeing. Last month, he spoke about the risks of calling frontline workers "heroes". (opens in new tab) "I think we've got to be very careful with the language that we use," he said on The One Show, as the BBC reported (opens in new tab). "[Healthcare workers] should rightly be hailed as superstars, and brave, and wonderful staff; but I'm very conscious from a mental health point of view that we don't alienate some of them."

The Duke shared his concern that "once they have this hero tag, they can no longer shake that, and therefore they can't ask for support, they have to be this strong pillar of strength, when in actual fact what we need them to be is examples of positive mental health." He encouraged frontline workers to acknowledge their needs and seek support when needed, to ensure they made it through the pandemic "in one piece."

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(Image credit: The Royal Family)

Emily Dixon is a British journalist who’s contributed to CNN, Teen Vogue, Time, Glamour, The Guardian, Wonderland, The Big Roundtable, Bust, and more, on everything from mental health to fashion to political activism to feminist zine collectives. She’s also a committed Beyoncé, Kacey Musgraves, and Tracee Ellis Ross fan, an enthusiastic but terrible ballet dancer, and a proud Geordie lass.