Watch: Prince William lays foundation stone at Royal Marsden Hospital
Prince William said he was “delighted” to follow in his mother’s footsteps as he laid a foundation stone at the country’s largest cancer hospital.
The Duke of Cambridge visited the Royal Marsden Hospital in Sutton to launch a fundraiser for the Oak Cancer Centre, a research and treatment facility, to help them raise the last £8m needed for the centre.
His visit came 30 years after his mother, Diana, laid the foundation stone at the Royal Marsden in Chelsea.
The Royal Marsden Trust, which operates in two London locations, with the Institute of Cancer Research, is Europe’s largest comprehensive cancer centre and sees tens of thousands of patients every year.
During his trip, William also praised the staff for facing challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic.
He said: “Every time I visit the Marsden, I am struck not just by the significant advances that are being made in research and treatment, but also by the hope and belief embodied by each patient and member of staff, even in the darkest of times.
“I am personally delighted to be with you today to lay the foundation stone of the Oak Centre, thirty years after my mother did the very same thing at The Royal Marsden in Chelsea, commemorating the building of the Chelsea Wing.”
The duke added: “Earlier this morning I was privileged to meet patients who all spoke about the exceptional care they received, and how they felt safe in very difficult and often frightening times.”
“Despite the challenging times we are living in, it is so important we take the time to acknowledge the tremendous work that continues all around us. And that irrespective of the global pandemic, there remains hope for the many thousands of people dealing with the effects of cancer,” he said.
Following the visit, the Kensington Royal Twitter account shared a picture of William on Wednesday and of Diana, in 1990 when she visited the Chelsea site.
It’s rare for Prince William to make mention of his mother, who died in 1997.
The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity has raised £62m in private donations for the Oak Cancer Centre, and is now to appeal to the public for the final £8m.
The centre is due to open to patients in 2022, and will provide state-of-the-art research and treatment under the same roof. There will be 400 researchers working there.
William became president of the Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust in 2007. His mother held the same position from 1989 until her death in 1997.
The Queen is patron of the The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust.
Watch: How Princess Diana made her super fans feel special