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Prince William pays tribute to emergency responders on first appearance since coronavirus revelation

The Duke of Cambridge spoke about the importance of mental health support

Danielle Stacey

The Duke of Cambridge has made his first appearance, albeit virtually, since it was revealed he contracted coronavirus back in April.

Prince William made no mention of his own experience with the disease as he delivered a video message to open The Fire Fighters Charity's Spirit of Fire Awards ceremony on Wednesday.

READ: Kate Middleton and Prince William make touching update to social media accounts

The father-of-three was reportedly treated by palace doctors and followed government guidelines by isolating at the family's country home Anmer Hall in Norfolk when he tested positive for COVID-19 in April.

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WATCH: Prince William's coronavirus diagnosis revealed

He is said to have kept his diagnosis a secret because he didn't want to alarm the nation.

During the virtual awards ceremony, the Duke spoke of the "unique challenge" facing emergency responders during the pandemic, just hours before England went into a second national lockdown.

William said: "This year, the outbreak of Covid-19 has presented a unique challenge for all emergency responders, who have had to adapt to new ways of working whilst continuing to save lives and help those in need, day-in day-out.

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Prince William earlier this year

"This is what makes the achievements that we are celebrating tonight all the more extraordinary.”

He added: "It is more important than ever that those on the frontline know where they can turn to for support.

"The work of The Fire Fighters Charity, and all of the organisations who support our blue light services, is central to ensuring the long-term health and wellbeing of our emergency responders."

MORE: Prince Charles and Camilla set to move home ahead of lockdown?

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William at The Fire Fighters Charity's Harcombe House centre in 2019

The charity offers specialist, lifelong support for members of the UK fire services community, focusing on their mental, physical and social wellbeing.

William also announced Shilla Patel, inclusion manager at the London Fire Brigade, as the winner of the organisation’s Special Recognition Award for Excellence in the Field of Mental Health.

The awards ceremony is usually held in London, with a reception at Downing Street, but the pandemic meant it took place online for the first time.

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