The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have praised Australia’s firefighters, paramedics and police, telling them “you should be immensely proud of everything you do”.
Prince William and Kate Middleton’s words of support were delivered in a video message marking Australia’s inaugural Thank A First Responder Day.
The couple were reportedly due to visit Australia later in 2020 and recorded the short video to recognise the efforts of those on the front line dealing with the coronavirus response and other emergency events in Australia.
“Earlier this year we witnessed thousands of firefighters, supported by the wider first responder community, as they worked tirelessly risking their own lives to protect Australian communities from the devastating wildfires,” Prince William began by saying.
“The world was watching your efforts, and we were deeply moved by what we saw.”
The video message was the latest in a string the royals have delivered from their home office at Anmer House, their Norfolk country home. They are there with their three children, – Prince George, 6, Princess Charlotte, 5, and Prince Louis, 2.
Kate went on to say: “Sadly, you’re now on the front line of yet another emergency. The COVID-19 outbreak has brought first responders across Australia together again.
“Day in, day out paramedics, police, firefighters and support staff work tirelessly to keep everybody safe, often risking not only their physical health, but also their mental wellbeing.”
Volunteers must not be overlooked, the prince said.
“We must mention Australia’s volunteer first-responders who choose to put their lives on hold, to support their communities, at times of need,” he said.
“We should not forget that these incredible people are supported every day by their families and friends.”
Speaking in the video, the duchess said: “Today, on Australia’s inaugural Thank A First Responder Day, you all deserve our huge thanks.”
The duke ended the message.
“Time and time again, when Australia has needed protecting, you have answered that call. You should be immensely proud of everything you do,” he said.
“We send our very best wishes to you all and to your families.”
Thank A First Responder Day has been organised by Fortem Australia, a non-profit group focused on improving the mental health and wellbeing of those who protect and care for Australian communities.