'Birthdays have been very different': Duchess of Cambridge says thoughts with NHS staff as she turns 39

Watch: Duchess of Cambridge celebrates her 39th birthday

The Queen has led birthday messages to the Duchess of Cambridge as she marks her 39th birthday in lockdown.

Kate turns 39 on Saturday but any hopes tied to celebrating a January birthday in some form of normality will have been scuppered by the nationwide lockdown which was announced shortly after the new year began.

Thanking royal fans for their birthday wishes, Kensington Palace’s Instagram account acknowledged birthdays had been “different” lately, and said their thoughts were with NHS workers.

The post read: “Thank you for your kind wishes on The Duchess’ birthday.

“Birthdays have been very different in recent months, and our thoughts continue to be with all those working on the front line at this hugely challenging time.”

To accompany the message, Kensington Palace chose a picture of the duchess from the royal train tour which she and Prince William took on in December.

The picture, showing her in a face covering and waving, was taken at the Batley Community Centre in West Yorkshire.

It’s believed Kate is in Anmer Hall, the Cambridges house in Norfolk, with her family - husband Prince William, and their children, Princes George and Louis and Princess Charlotte.

On Instagram, the Royal Family shared pictures of the duchess from engagements in the last two years, including one with the Queen at the Chelsea Flower Show.

Read more: Duchess of Cambridge turns 39: These photos prove she has always had a cheeky side

The message read: “Wishing The Duchess of Cambridge a very happy birthday today!”

The first picture is from the duchess’s visit to a scout group in September 2020, which marked her appointment as joint president of The Scout Association.

The second is a throwback to her garden at the Chelsea Flower Show, which she showed the Queen around back in 2019.

Soon after the Queen’s post, Clarence House shared a message from her father-in-law, Prince Charles and his wife Camilla.

Read more: Queen-in-waiting: How Duchess Kate is preparing for the throne

Charles and Camilla’s post featured a picture of Kate in the summer of 2020, when she took on an outdoor engagement at Battersea Park in London.

The post read: “Happy Birthday to The Duchess of Cambridge!”

Last year fans were treated to a new picture of the duchess, but it is unlikely there will be the same this year.

Prince William’s video call with staff from a London hospital will take centre stage for the couple as they conduct royal work from a distance once again.

William, 38, called staff from Homerton University Hospital on Thursday, revealing he and Kate tell their children about the sacrifices staff are making everyday.

His call came just hours before the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, declared a major incident in the capital because of rising case number of coronavirus.

Kate has previously talked about being happy when she and her family are in the countryside and “filthy dirty” so a day in Norfolk may be perfect for the future Queen consort.

Watch: Duke of Cambridge speaks to London hospital staff