Prince William 'delighted' to follow in his mother's footsteps at cancer hospital

Rebecca Taylor
·Royal Correspondent
·3-min read

Watch: Prince William lays foundation stone at Royal Marsden Hospital

Prince William said he was “delighted” to follow in his mother’s footsteps as he laid a foundation stone at the country’s largest cancer hospital.

The Duke of Cambridge visited the Royal Marsden Hospital in Sutton to launch a fundraiser for the Oak Cancer Centre, a research and treatment facility, to help them raise the last £8m needed for the centre.

His visit came 30 years after his mother, Diana, laid the foundation stone at the Royal Marsden in Chelsea.

The Royal Marsden Trust, which operates in two London locations, with the Institute of Cancer Research, is Europe’s largest comprehensive cancer centre and sees tens of thousands of patients every year.

During his trip, William also praised the staff for facing challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Britain's Prince William, Duke of Cambridge attends the ground-breaking ceremony for the Oak Cancer Centre at The Royal Marsden hospital in central London on October 21, 2020. (Photo by Jack Hill / POOL / AFP) (Photo by JACK HILL/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
William's visit came 30 years after his mother visited the hospital's Chelsea site. (Jack Hill/AFP)
Britain's Prince William, Duke of Cambridge attends the ground-breaking ceremony for the Oak Cancer Centre at The Royal Marsden hospital in central London on October 21, 2020. (Photo by Jack Hill / POOL / AFP) (Photo by JACK HILL/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
William did the pointing on the stone which will form part of the new centre. (Jack Hill/AFP)
SUTTON, GREATER LONDON - OCTOBER 21:  Prince William, Duke of Cambridge speaks to staff and patients to mark the construction of the groundbreaking Oak cancer centre at Royal Marsden Hospital on October 21, 2020 in Sutton, Greater London. (Photo by Jack Hill -  WPA Pool/Getty Images)
The duke spoke to staff and patients during his visit. (Jack Hill - WPA Pool)

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He said: “Every time I visit the Marsden, I am struck not just by the significant advances that are being made in research and treatment, but also by the hope and belief embodied by each patient and member of staff, even in the darkest of times.

“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.”

The duke added: “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.”

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

SUTTON, GREATER LONDON - OCTOBER 21:  Prince William, Duke of Cambridge speaks to staff and patients to mark the construction of the groundbreaking Oak cancer centre at Royal Marsden Hospital on October 21, 2020 in Sutton, Greater London. (Photo by Jack Hill -  WPA Pool/Getty Images)
William gave a speech at the hospital, referencing his mother's visit three decades ago. (Jack Hill - WPA Pool)
Britain's Prince William, Duke of Cambridge meets patients and staff during a visit to attend the ground-breaking ceremony for the Oak Cancer Centre at The Royal Marsden hospital in central London on October 21, 2020. (Photo by Jack Hill / POOL / AFP) (Photo by JACK HILL/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
William spoke about the challenges of cancer treatment during COVID-19. (Jack Hill/AFP)

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Following the visit, the Kensington Royal Twitter account shared a picture of William on Wednesday and of Diana, in 1990 when she visited the Chelsea site.

It’s rare for Prince William to make mention of his mother, who died in 1997.

The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity has raised £62m in private donations for the Oak Cancer Centre, and is now to appeal to the public for the final £8m.

The centre is due to open to patients in 2022, and will provide state-of-the-art research and treatment under the same roof. There will be 400 researchers working there.

William became president of the Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust in 2007. His mother held the same position from 1989 until her death in 1997.

The Queen is patron of the The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust.

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