Prince William has recorded a touching video for one of his most important patronages, The Royal Marsden Hospital. The Duke of Cambridge followed in his late mother Diana's footsteps when he became president of the "world class" cancer facility in May 2007, and his message comes as the centre celebrates ten years of their most ground-breaking work.
"I'm extremely proud to be President of the Royal Marsden," the royal says, before making a plea for donations so the hospital can reach their target fund of £100 million and continue innovating in the years to come. Fittingly, the dad-to-be also refers to his 2011 visit to the Royal Marsden, when he and wife Kate, who is three months pregnant, opened a new cancer treatment ward for children. William describes the ward as "an inspirational place, where young cancer patients are treated in a state-of-the-art environment". That occasion provided the Duchess of Cambridge with what was only her second UK charity engagement since the royal wedding two months before.
Even though William had just finished a packed 24 hour shift with the RAF's search and rescue team, the hospital holds a special place in his heart and it was an engagement he was determined not to miss. With no time to sleep, he had jumped in a helicopter to meet up with his wife ahead of the memorable visit. Both royals chatted with patients and staff as they toured the £18 million Oak Centre unit, which is funded entirely from charitable donations. The 30-year-old prince was then invited to unveil a plaque to officially open the centre. William's late mother Diana was a huge supporter of the hospital; she auctioned off 79 dresses – at her son's suggestion – helping raise funds for the Marsden weeks before her passing in 1997. And a decade later, the hospital was one of the charities to benefit from Concert for Diana, a celebratory event staged by William and his brother Prince Harry.
In 2008, royal help was needed once again when a fire broke out in one of the wings, leading to the evacuation of those being treated. William came in person to thank firefighters and lift spirits among nurses and patients, following this up with another visit to check on repair work.