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‘Nervous’ nurses overjoyed with royals’ video call

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A Queensland nurse video-called by the Duchess of Cambridge has told how she and her workmates were so nervous about the looming call they got the date wrong – and signed in a day early.

Renee Blackman and her colleagues from the Mount Isa Medical Centre were among nurses in seven countries video-called by Kate Middleton and other royals to thank nurses for their work during the coronavirus pandemic on International Nurses Day on Tuesday.

“We were nervous and got the days wrong. We actually turned
up the day before,” Ms Blackman told ABC TV on Wednesday.

“We had an email that said, no, no, it’s the next day. Then we had to be nervous for a whole other 24 hours.”

nurses video call royals
Renee Blackman, centre, and her co-workers during the video call. Photo: Twitter

Prince Charles, his wife Camilla, sister Princess Anne and sister-in-law Sophie, Countess of Wessex, joined Kate and her husband Prince William on the call to nurses in Commonwealth countries, including Malawi, Cyprus and India, as well as Australia.

The royal effort was led by the Queen, whose audio call to Professor Kathleen McCourt, the president of the Commonwealth Nurses and Midwives Federation and Fellow of the Royal College of Nursing, kicked off the five-minute video released after the conversations.

“This is rather an important day,” the Queen said. “[Nurses] have obviously had a very important part to play recently.”

It is reportedly the first time the Queen has given permission for direct audio from one of her one-on-one conversations to be aired.

Ms Blackman, who spoke to Kate and Sophie on her call, said the royals were especially interested in her clinic’s response to COVID-19 in its isolated and rural community.

“We talked a little about the mental health fallout that always happens after any type of crisis in any type of community and very much how we were just continuing on with usual business, even though we have COVID-19 at our doorstep,” she said.

“It’s probably compounded by the fact that you’re a long way from the cities when you’re in a place like Mount Isa, and in the north west.”

The royals have been particularly visible during the coronavirus crisis. Kate and William have made virtual visits to schools and mental health workers calls, while other members of the family have opened hospitals by video-link and helped deliver food parcels.