Prince William launches emergency coronavirus appeal for local charities

Prince William has launched an urgent appeal urging people to donate money to local charities to help combat the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

Kensington Palace has shared a video of the prince speaking about the National Emergencies Trust, which he helped to launch, as it begins an appeal to help cope with the spread of Covid-19.

Speaking about launching the NET, he said: “I dreaded the day when it would be needed. Sadly, with the outbreak of Covid-19, that day has come faster than any of us would have hoped.”

He added: “But now, more than ever, I am grateful that the National Emergencies Trust exists.”

He also praised the public’s response to emergencies, saying the people of the UK “have a unique ability to pull together”.

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LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 09: Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge attend the Commonwealth Day Service 2020 at Westminster Abbey on March 9, 2020 in London, England. (Photo by Mark Cuthbert/UK Press via Getty Images)
William and Kate are among royals following government guidance. (Getty Images)

The appeal website states: “The world is in a state of emergency. The outbreak of coronavirus is affecting both businesses and people from across the globe.

“Many people are suffering, not just physically due to ill health, but also economically and socially. Workers are struggling to make ends meet, small, local businesses are closing their doors, and social distancing and self-isolation means people aren’t able to visit vulnerable loved ones.

“The Government is doing everything it can to alleviate some of this pressure. However, at times like this, it’s the strength and desire to help from the public that can make the most difference.

“That’s why we, the NET, are today launching an appeal to raise funds for local charities and grassroots organisations that can provide vital support to people in the quickest way possible.”

Read more: How Prince Andrew or Prince Harry could be called on if the Queen gets coronavirus

Lord Dannatt, chairman of the National Emergencies Trust, said: “These are tough and uncertain times and we’re only asking those who can really afford to give to our appeal to do so.

“We will do our very best to channel the money raised to organisations where people who need it can get support as quickly as possible.”

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said: “As a government we are working closely with the charity sector, which is already playing a crucial role in the nation’s response.

“The National Emergencies Trust will help to channel the amazing outpouring of generosity we are seeing from the British public and businesses, and ensure help reaches those most in need.”

NET has pledged to work across a range of organisations to raise money and distribute it to those who need it most.

Prince William’s video statement comes after his brother Harry and his wife Meghan posted a message on Instagram encouraging their followers to treat each other with kindness.

They also pledged to use their page to share inspiring stories and accurate information from experts.

It also came as the government closed schools from Friday afternoon. However it had been reported that Thomas’s Battersea, where the Cambridges send Prince George and Princess Charlotte, was already prepared to close amid the pandemic.

Read more: Will the Queen have to self-isolate? How world's royal families are affected by coronavirus

The Queen is to leave London to go to Windsor for Easter Court on Thursday, a week earlier than her original plan.

She has also cancelled the annual garden parties in London, though the event in Scotland is still under review.

Many of her planned engagements in the coming months will be postponed.

LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 12:  Princess Beatrice of York and Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi attend the Portrait Gala 2019 at the National Portrait Gallery on March 12, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Samir Hussein/Samir Hussein/WireImage)
Beatrice has had to cancel the reception of her wedding. (Getty Images)

William’s cousin Princess Beatrice has been forced to cancel her wedding reception in light of the government’s advice on large gatherings.

She and her fiance Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi will review their ceremony plans too, and may host a smaller event with just family and friends.

Their wedding was already set to be a smaller affair compared to her sister Eugenie’s, with just 150 guests able to fit in the Chapel Royal.