The Duke of Cambridge has arrived alone for a service of thanksgiving celebrating the 73rd anniversary of the NHS after the Duchess of Cambridge was forced to self-isolate after coming into close contact with someone who has tested positive for Covid-19.
Prince William, 39, was due to attend the event with his wife Kate, 39, but she has been forced to miss the service and this afternoon’s Buckingham Palace tea party honouring NHS workers, despite having both her jabs and testing negative four times herself in the past week.
Prince William looked dapper in a navy suit and blue tie as he arrived at St Paul’s Cathedral for the morning service, which was also attended by the Prime Minister and new Health Secretary Sajid Javid.
The royal, 39, was greeted outside the cathedral by William Russell, the Lord Mayor of London, before making his way inside. William wore a navy fabric face mask even when outside the cathedral.
The service celebrates the NHS’s contribution to the country during Covid-19, reflecting on the work and achievement of health staff, volunteers and carers.
William is joining guests including leading figures in the NHS pandemic response, several hundred members of frontline staff, and patients.
Later he will host the NHS Big Tea in the grounds of Buckingham Palace to pay tribute to the work of NHS staff who have gone above and beyond in tackling the pandemic.
The Duke of Cambridge has arrived alone for a service of thanksgiving celebrating the 73rd anniversary of the NHS
Prince William was due to attend the event with his wife Kate, but it was announced today the Duchess will miss the engagement after coming into contact with someone who subsequently tested positive for Covid-19. Pictured, William today
The socially-distanced service, pictured, took place at St Paul’s Cathedral, London, this morning
The Duchess does not have any symptoms but is following government advice and self-isolating at home. Pictured, Kate and William with their son George at Wembley last Tuesday
The Duchess of Cambridge also sat next to British Tim Henman during a visit to Wimbledon on Friday
MailOnline understands that the Duchess was alerted about the contact with a Covid-infected person on Friday afternoon – after spending most of the day at Wimbledon.
Kensington Palace has not revealed where or when exactly the contact was only saying it was ‘last week’, when Kate’s only two public engagements were at the All England Club on Friday and with William and George at England’s historic win over Germany on Tuesday night.
Kate has spent time close to a host of VIPs including David Beckham and Ed Sheeran at Wembley and Tim Henman and Joe Wicks at Wimbledon.
But it is not known if any of them tested positive for covid, or whether the contact came via a friend, a member of staff or another parent on the school run last week.
The Duchess arrived at Wimbledon at around midday and was joined by Wimbledon chief executive Sally Bolton and former British tennis player Tim Henman on an outside court where they watched Andy Murray’s brother Jamie play.
She was also pictured laughing and smiling as she prepped strawberry desserts at the All England Club before heading to the Royal Box where she seen speaking to a beaming Joe Wicks, leaving around 5pm.
The Duke of Cambridge is greeted by William Russell, the Lord Mayor of London, as he arrives for the NHS service of commemoration and thanksgiving
The service celebrates the NHS’s contribution to the country during Covid-19, reflecting on the work and achievement of health staff, volunteers and carers. Pictured, Prince William at the service today
Among the congregation at the service of thanksgiving are NHS England chief executive Sir Simon Stevens, and matron May Parsons, who administered the first Covid-19 vaccination outside clinical trials. Pictured, Prince William in attendance
Prince William was seated front and centre (back of head just seen) at the service of thanksgiving at St Paul’s Cathedral
NHS staff in uniform take their seats ahead of the service of thanksgiving at St Paul’s Cathedral, in London, today
A nurse in uniform takes her seat as she waits for the start of NHS service of commemoration and thanksgiving
NHS England chief executive Sir Simon Stevens speaks at the NHS service of commemoration and thanksgiving
The Prime Minister leaves St Paul’s Cathedral following the service of thanksgiving marking the 73rd anniversary of the NHS
Kate’s only other public engagement was on Tuesday when she went to Wembley Stadium with William and George to watch England beat Germany.
Kate Middleton’s week: Duchess took in the action at Wembley and Wimbledon
MONDAY No official engagements.
TUESDAY Kate joined her husband Prince William and son Prince George to watch England take on Germany in their Euro 2020 match at Wembley. The couple were seen talking to fellow VIP guests including David Beckham and his son Romeo, 18, and Ed Sheeran and his wife Cherry. Like the other spectators, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge did not wear masks while in the stands.
WEDNESDAY No official engagements.
THURSDAY No official engagements.
FRIDAY Duchess of Cambridge paid a visit to Wimbledon where she took in a match with Tim Henman, helped the executive chef prepare strawberries in the kitchen and visited the on site museum. She also sat in the Royal Box at Centre Court, where she spoke to Body Coach Joe Wicks. In keeping with event guidance, Kate kept her mask on while travelling around the site and while inside the museum and kitchen but removed it when seated.
SATURDAY No official engagements.
SUNDAY No official engagements.
A palace source said that the Duchess took lateral flow tests before both engagements and both were negative.
In addition to this, the Duchess is tested twice weekly with lateral flow tests as part of the Royal Household testing regime, meaning she had four negative tests in that time.
‘Last week The Duchess of Cambridge came into contact with someone who has subsequently tested positive for Covid-19’, her spokesman said, adding: ‘Her Royal Highness is not experiencing any symptoms, but is following all relevant government guidelines and is self-isolating at home’.
It is not known if the Duchess of Cambridge was alerted after being ‘pinged’ via the NHS app, a phone call from test and trace or if she or her team was contacted personally by the person who tested positive.
It means that William is having to lead and celebrate the 73rd anniversary of the NHS today, alone.
This morning William led the congregation at the service of commemoration and thanksgiving.
Among those in attendance are NHS England chief executive Sir Simon Stevens, matron May Parsons, who administered the first Covid-19 vaccination outside clinical trials, Sam Foster, the nurse who gave the first Oxford AstraZeneca jab, members of staff who treated the first Covid-19 patients in England, and a number of patients who have been treated for the virus.
Later today William will play host as he welcomes NHS heroes to the grounds of Buckingham Palace for an NHS Big Tea party.
He will meet staff ranging from respiratory ward nurses, counsellors and care workers, to those working in non-clinical roles including catering managers and housekeeping co-ordinators.
The NHS Big Tea is organised by NHS Charities Together, of which the Duke and Duchess are patron, and is a national celebration of the health service, offering the opportunity for communities to come together for a moment of reflection and to thank staff and volunteers for the role they have played throughout the pandemic.
The event hosted by the duke is one of thousands of Big Teas taking place on Monday in homes, hospitals, schools and community spaces across the UK.
Alexandra Heys, nurse ward manager in the respiratory high care unit at Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: ‘The special tea at Buckingham Palace means a lot to NHS staff who have been through so much over the last year, and I feel so honoured to be meeting the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge today.
‘I know from personal experience that the past year has taken a huge toll on NHS staff who have worked incredibly hard to take care of patients during a challenging time.
‘My team at the respiratory high care unit has cared for over 300 very sick Covid patients, all of whom required dedicated around-the-clock care.
Uniformed NHS staff take their seats ahead of the NHS service of commemoration and thanksgiving at St Paul’s Cathedral
Prime Minister Boris Johnson joined Prince William at the service of thanksgiving at St Paul’s Cathedral
Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey (left) talks with Labour party leader Sir Keir Starmer at the service
Health Secretary Sajid Javid arriving at St Paul’s Cathedral ahead of the service of thanksgiving this morning
‘All NHS staff have gone above and beyond, providing additional care in difficult circumstances, including connecting isolated and very sick patients with their families in their most challenging moments.
‘We have all been through a lot, so seeing the public get behind the NHS Big Tea on such as massive scale is an immense boost and really makes a difference.’
England footballer Jordan Henderson, who helped put his team through to the Euro 2020 semi-finals, said NHS staff are the ‘real heroes’.
Henderson, appointed an Official NHS Charities Together Champion in January following his creation of the #PlayersTogether initiative, said: ‘After the last 16 months, this nation owes so much to the NHS and the least we can do this July is encourage everybody to express their collective gratitude for that selfless support.
‘We know as footballers we are often the ones being looked up to, but this is about the real heroes so, from all of us associated with the England football teams, we raise our mugs for the NHS Big Tea with a simple message – thank you.’
The Crown actress Olivia Colman said: ‘As ever, I am tremendously grateful for our heroic NHS, but even more so following this very peculiar year.
‘We are so lucky to have our NHS, and today we will celebrate its 73rd birthday. There is much to celebrate, but also much to be aware of as we try to recover from the past year.
‘It’s our turn to care for our NHS staff and show them all the love and respect we can, by raising money for the support NHS Charities Together provides.’
NHS Charities Together is the independent national charity partner of the NHS and an umbrella organisation made up of 240 NHS member charities based within hospitals, mental health trusts, ambulance trusts, community health trusts and health boards across the UK.
William and Kate became its joint patrons in December 2020.