The Princess Royal sent an emotional message of support to midwives on Tuesday, praising the profession for their care and compassion, particularly during the coronavirus pandemic. Speaking from her Gloucestershire home, Gatcombe Park, Princess Anne, 69, marked International Day of the Midwife on 5 May during a video message.
WATCH: Princess Anne's emotional video message to midwives
READ: Princess Anne gives rare glimpse inside her home at Gatcombe Park
The Queen's daughter, who has been patron of the Royal College of Midwives since 2002, acknowledged that this year's celebrations will be very different, saying: "In previous years, there has always been the opportunity to celebrate your profession and fellowship together. This year, those plans have had to be put on hold. In many ways, though, despite not being able to come together, as a profession you have never been more united."
Princess Anne praised retired midwives who have re-joined the frontline to support their colleagues and the hundreds of student midwives, who have voluntarily stepped into clinical roles, adding: "You have supported each other as colleagues and as friends and, in these difficult times, you have shown great care and compassion. That will be what the women in your care will remember for years to come. Like so many frontline NHS staff, you have felt the impact of the current crisis on your everyday work, yet you continue to rise to the challenge, finding new ways of working and delivering services for your communities."
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Anne visiting Princess Alexandra Maternity Wing, Royal Cornwall Hospital, in 2019
Before lockdown was imposed, Princess Anne would make regular visits to maternity units up and down the UK. She said: "I am always struck by the sense of hope and new beginnings. Even in these difficult times, I am sure that you are doing all you can to allay anxiety and concern, and ensuring that joy and hope pervade."
This year's International Day of the Midwife falls in the same year as the first ever International Year of the Nurse and Midwife. The Princess finished her video message saying that she hoped "before the year is out, there will be an opportunity to celebrate the International Year of the Midwife together in person. In the meantime, I wanted to share my thanks for all that you do, today and every day, and to wish you a very happy International Day of the Midwife, for today".
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