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How Princess Diana, and Now Prince William, Have Transformed a Cancer Hospital

Prince William mirrors the empathy – and humor – of his late mother Princess Diana, says a physician who has seen both of them in action first-hand.

William joins patient Charlie Miller, 3, and his parents Daryl and Sally at the Royal Marsden on May 16, 2017
William joins patient Charlie Miller, 3, and his parents Daryl and Sally at the Royal Marsden on May 16, 2017

William is president of the Royal Marsden Hospital, the same renowned cancer institution his mother represented from 1989 until her death in 1997. Now, as the 20th anniversary of Diana’s death in Paris nears on August 31, a leading specialist who chaperoned the princess when she visited the hospital and now works with William tells PEOPLE of the royals’ similarities.

William meets with researchers at the Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust Hospital on November 18, 2015.
William meets with researchers at the Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust Hospital on November 18, 2015.

“[William] has that same wonderful sympathy, down-to-earth nature, way of speaking to patients and staff, and really getting engaged,” says consultant medical oncologist Professor Martin Gore.

“Also, [Diana] was not just associated with this cancer hospital, but with less glamorous charities like those who dealt with AIDS — and Prince William has aligned himself with mental health charities, which were something of a Cinderella subject as well.”

William meeting patient Daisy Wood, 6, and her mother Katie at the Royal Marsden on May 16, 2017.
William meeting patient Daisy Wood, 6, and her mother Katie at the Royal Marsden on May 16, 2017.

In September 2011, just five months after marrying Princess Kate, the couple opened the Marsden’s children’s unit in Surrey, on the outskirts of London. William returned recently to get an update. “The kids absolutely loved seeing him. Of course, he now has his own children so there is tremendous engagement there,” Gore says. “He has a terrific sense of humor, as indeed [Diana] did, that makes the visits enjoyable.”

Diana meets with a patient at the Royal Marsden.
Diana meets with a patient at the Royal Marsden.

William, he adds, has “rather seamlessly picked up the legacy and continued with the same kind of support, and the same tone of the support, as [his mother] did. That is both supporting patients and the staff on the ground. There is a huge buzz when he comes to see us.”

In his time as president, he has also watched surgery at the hospital.

“[William] has that same wonderful sympathy, down-to-earth nature, way of speaking to patients and staff, and really getting engaged
“[William] has that same wonderful sympathy, down-to-earth nature, way of speaking to patients and staff, and really getting engaged

Gore says remembering Diana is important: “Maybe now at 20 years, it is a chance to look back and celebrate her life rather than mourn her death — though I think it still must be very difficult for her family because of how young they were when she died.”

Prince William mirrors the empathy – and humor – of his late mother Princess Diana, says a physician
Prince William mirrors the empathy – and humor – of his late mother Princess Diana, says a physician

He recalls how Diana would not just come on official visits but also “dropped in” to see friends or people who worked in the Royal Household who were patients. “She was very sympathetic and caring,” he says of those times. “Like all the organizations she was associated with, people on the ground were always struck by her kindness, and her engagements and her sensitivity and her friendliness. Naturally, because of who she was and the type of person she was, that always would give people a tremendous boost when she was around.”

He adds, “The legacy that she has passed on to her children is one of service, not just to the country but to charity work. That’s why it is particularly nice for us at the Marsden that William has carried on her tradition here.”

Source: PEOPLE COM

Tags: Princes Diana, Prince William, Diana and William, Hospital, Following Diana’s Footsteps

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