Royal Corner

Prince William Offers His Support for Cancer Hospital

The Duke of Cambridge followed in his mother's footsteps by laying the foundation stone for a new cancer centre.

OCTOBER 21st, 2020

The Duke wore a surgical mask for the engagement - © Getty Images


ancer patients received support from the Duke of Cambridge as he visited the Royal Marsden Hospital in Chelsea today. The Duke met with staff and patients at the hospital as he marked the start of construction for the Trust’s Oak Cancer Centre. William’s visit comes 30 years after his mother Diana, Princess of Wales laid a foundation stone to commemorate the construction of the Chelsea Wing at the hospital.

The future king followed in the footsteps of his late-mother by laying the foundation stone of the planned building. To help raise the final amount required to build the centre, the Duke also launched The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity’s public appeal. So far £62 million of the £70 million needed to complete the build has been raised and the centre is set to open to patients in 2022.

The Duke spoke with patients and staff at The Royal Marsden Hospital. - © Getty Images

The Duke spoke with patients and staff at The Royal Marsden Hospital. - © Getty Images

The centre will have a huge positive impact on the research and treatment of differing types of cancers by placing over 400 researchers under the same roof as patients. This system will accelerate the development of any new treatments for cancer and subsequently save more lives.

Speaking to staff and patients at the hospital, Prince William said: “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.

“Despite the challenging times it is so important we take the time to acknowledge the tremendous work that continues all around is. And that irrespective of the global pandemic, there remains hope for the many thousands of people dealing with the effects of cancer.”

Earlier in the day, William met with patients and seemed engaged in one-on-one conversations as he heard how large an impact Covid-19 had had on their treatment. The Duke touched on this in his speech saying: “The knock-on effects of coronavirus have been felt widely, but the impact on cancer treatment for patients up and down the country has been one of the most acute and challenging.

“When I spoke to Cally and her team in the early days of the pandemic, she told me about the rapid changes that had been implemented to keep cancer treatment going for hundreds of patients who are cared for by The Royal Marsden.

“This included the creation of the Cancer Surgical Hub which ensured patients from across London were able to continue with their urgent cancer surgery, and which will have saved countless lives.

He continued: “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.”

Princess Diana laid the foundation stone for the Chelsea Wing in 1990. - © AP

Princess Diana laid the foundation stone for the Chelsea Wing in 1990. - © AP

The visit was a poignant one for the Prince as it marked 30 years after his mother laid the foundation stone of the Chelsea Wing in 1990. The Duke took over as President of the hospital in 2007, ten years after Princess Diana’s tragic death, who previously held the position.

Prince William has visited the hospital since 2007. He is pictured here in 2018 watching cancer surgery. - © Getty Images

At the time of his appointment, Prince William said: “The Royal Marsden does an extraordinary job in treating thousands of cancer patients every year. The standards of care and compassion of its staff are unsurpassed in the world. I am, therefore, delighted and honoured to become President of The Royal Marsden and will do whatever I can to support its innovative and vital work.”

The Royal Marsden opened in 1851 as the first dedicated cancer hospital in the world. With a focus on diagnosis, research, treatment and education, the hospital has become a leading figure in the fight against the disease. The Queen is Patron of The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust.

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