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Prince William follows in Princess Diana's footsteps during moving visit

The Duke of Cambridge became President of the Royal Marsden NHS Foundation in 2007

Emily Nash

The Duke of Cambridge made a moving visit to The Royal Marsden in Sutton, Surrey on Wednesday, as he laid the foundation stone for its new cancer centre, 30 years after his mother Diana, Princess of Wales laid one at The Royal Marsden in Chelsea.

Prince William followed in his mother's footsteps by becoming President of the Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust in 2007.

Diana was pictured wearing a hard hat bearing the letters "HRH" when she laid a ceremonial stone to commemorate the building of the Chelsea Wing at the London hospital in June 1990.

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WATCH: William talks with patients during moving visit to The Royal Marsden

On one of her many visits, she was also photographed wearing scrubs to highlight the work being done by surgeons at the world-famous hospital, with William doing the same during a 2018 visit.

On Wednesday, the Duke met staff and patients and spoke at a groundbreaking ceremony to launch The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity's public appeal to raise the final amount to build its new Oak Cancer Centre at the Sutton site.

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Princess Diana at The Royal Marsden in Chelsea in 1990

The research and treatment facility will place more than 400 researchers under the same roof as patients, helping to speed up the development of new treatments.

The hospital charity has so far raised nearly £62million of the £70million needed to complete the centre, which is due to open to patients in 2022.

MORE: Prince William's special gifts from the Queen and Prince Philip revealed

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William met staff and patients

The Duke heard from patients about how clinical trials at The Royal Marsden have transformed their lives, as well as their experiences of treatment during the COVID-19 outbreak.

He also heard about studies launched by The Royal Marsden to investigate the impact of the pandemic on cancer treatment and care, and about the Surgical Cancer Hub it helped to formto provide cancer surgery to patients across the country.

The Royal Marsden opened in 1851 as the world's first dedicated cancer hospital, focused on diagnosis, treatment, research and education. The Queen is Patron of The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust. 

The Oak Cancer Centre will help to build hope for people affected by cancer, and speed up the development of new treatments for cancer patients throughout the UK and beyond. To find out more about the Centre and ways you can support The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity, please visit: royalmarsden.org/appeal

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