William and Kate tell of hopes of travelling to Canada to meet frontline workers

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have pledged to visit frontline workers in Canada after hearing how they have been battling the coronavirus outbreak.

William and Kate held a video call with six members of staff, who sat socially distanced in their blue scrubs, from Fraser Health's Surrey Memorial Hospital in British Columbia to mark Canada Day.

The couple, speaking from their Norfolk home, Anmer Hall, heard from health care social worker Sunny Dulai, who is six months pregnant, about the challenges she faced during the pandemic, with a smiling Kate telling her: "Good luck, Sunny, going forward ... with your new baby."

William asked: "Sunny, is it right in saying a little birdie says you're expecting in September? How have you found it? How has it been working?"

Ms Dulai told the duke and duchess – parents to Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis – that dealing with the Covid-19 crisis had affected her mental health after not being able to see her three siblings, but that she had had amazing support from her team.

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(NO SALES) In this Handout Image provided by Clarence House www.officialroyalwedding2011.org, Kate Middleton on the day of her graduation ceremony at St Andrew's University in St Andrew's on June 23, 2005 in Scotland.
(NO SALES) In this Handout Image provided by Clarence House www.officialroyalwedding2011.org, Kate Middleton and Prince William on the day of their graduation ceremony at St Andrew's University in St Andrew's on June 23, 2005 in Scotland.
ST. ANDREWS, UNITED KINGDOM - JUNE 23: Kate Middleton and her father Michael Middleton sighted prior to her graduation ceremony at the University of St. Andrews, where she obtained a 2:1 degree in the History of Art on June 23, 2005 in St. Andrews, Scotland. (Photo by Indigo/Getty Images)
Kate Middleton & Mother Carole Visit The Spirit Of Christmas Shopping Festival At London'S Olympia. (Photo by Antony Jones/Brendan Bierne/UK Press via Getty Images)
Kate Middleton & Mother Carole Visit The Spirit Of Christmas Shopping Festival At London'S Olympia. (Photo by Antony Jones/Brendan Bierne/UK Press via Getty Images)
Kate Middleton, girlfriend of Prince William, attends the second day of the Gatcombe Park Festival of British Eventing at Gatcombe Park, on August 6, 2005 near Tetbury, England. (Photo by Anwar Hussein/WireImage)
Kate Middleton, girlfriend of Prince William, attends the second day of the Gatcombe Park Festival of British Eventing at Gatcombe Park, on August 6, 2005 near Tetbury, England. (Photo by Anwar Hussein/WireImage)
Kate Middleton, girlfriend of Prince William, attends the second day of the Gatcombe Park Festival of British Eventing at Gatcombe Park, on August 6, 2005 near Tetbury, England. (Photo by Anwar Hussein/WireImage)
Kate Middleton, Prince William'S Girlfriend Arrives At The Society Wedding Of Hugh Van Cutsem Junior To Rose Astor At Burford Parish Church In Burford. (Photo by Mark Cuthbert/UK Press via Getty Images)
FILE - This April 29, 2011 file photo shows Prince William and Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge, walking down the aisle at Westminster Abbey following their marriage in central London. Sony Electronics and the Nielsen television research company collaborated on a survey ranking TV's most memorable moments. Other TV events include, the Sept. 11 attacks in 2001, Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the O.J. Simpson murder trial verdict in 1995 and the death of Osama bin Laden in 2011. (AP Photo/RICHARD POHLE, Pool)
Prince William (L) and his fiancee Kate Middleton wave as they pass St Salvator's halls during a visit to the University of St Andrews in Scotland on February 25, 2011. During the visit they viewed the surviving Papal Bull (the university's founding document), unveiled a plaque, and met a selection of the Universitys current staff and students to mark the start of the Anniversary. Prince William and Kate Middleton attended the university as students from 2001 to 2005 and began their romance in St Andrews.2011. AFP PHOTO/WPA POOL/ANDREW MILLIGAN (Photo credit should read ANDREW MILLIGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
Prince William (L) and his fiancee Kate Middleton wave as they pass St Salvator's halls during a visit to the University of St Andrews in Scotland on February 25, 2011. During the visit they viewed the surviving Papal Bull (the university's founding document), unveiled a plaque, and met a selection of the Universitys current staff and students to mark the start of the Anniversary. Prince William and Kate Middleton attended the university as students from 2001 to 2005 and began their romance in St Andrews.2011. AFP PHOTO/WPA POOL/ANDREW MILLIGAN (Photo credit should read ANDREW MILLIGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge arrive at the Centrepoint unit in Camberwell, south London.Picture date: Wednesday December 21, 2011. William and Kate will join in a cookery class with former homeless youngsters this evening as they visit a Centrepoint unit. The Duke has been the patron of Centrepoint, a charity that supports homeless young people in the UK, since 2005. See PA story ROYAL Cambridge. (Photo by Lewis Whyld/PA Images via Getty Images)
Prince William's fiancee Kate Middleton smiles during a visit to the University of St Andrews in Scotland on February 25, 2011. During the visit they viewed the surviving Papal Bull (the university's founding document), unveiled a plaque, and met a selection of the Universitys current staff and students to mark the start of the Anniversary. Prince William and Kate Middleton attended the university as students from 2001 to 2005 and began their romance in St Andrews.2011. AFP PHOTO/WPA POOL/DANNY LAWSON (Photo credit should read DANNY LAWSON/AFP/Getty Images)
Prince William's fiancee Kate Middleton reacts as she talks with a guest during a visit to the University of St Andrews in Scotland on February 25, 2011. During the visit they viewed the surviving Papal Bull (the university's founding document), unveiled a plaque, and met a selection of the Universitys current staff and students to mark the start of the Anniversary. Prince William and Kate Middleton attended the university as students from 2001 to 2005 and began their romance in St Andrews.2011. AFP PHOTO/WPA POOL/DAVID CHESKIN (Photo credit should read DAVID CHESKIN/AFP/Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - OCTOBER 21: (EMBARGOED FOR PUBLICATION IN UK NEWSPAPERS UNTIL 48 HOURS AFTER CREATE DATE AND TIME) Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge attends 'Creative Collaborations: UK & China' along with The President of the Peoples Republic of China, Xi Jinping and his wife Peng Liyuan at Lancaster House on October 21, 2015 in London, England. The President of the Peoples Republic of China, Mr Xi Jinping and his wife, Madame Peng Liyuan, are paying a State Visit to the United Kingdom as guests of The Queen. They will stay at Buckingham Palace and undertake engagements in London and Manchester. The last state visit paid by a Chinese President to the UK was Hu Jintao in 2005. (Photo by Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - OCTOBER 21: (EMBARGOED FOR PUBLICATION IN UK NEWSPAPERS UNTIL 48 HOURS AFTER CREATE DATE AND TIME) Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge attends 'Creative Collaborations: UK & China' along with The President of the Peoples Republic of China, Xi Jinping and his wife Peng Liyuan at Lancaster House on October 21, 2015 in London, England. The President of the Peoples Republic of China, Mr Xi Jinping and his wife, Madame Peng Liyuan, are paying a State Visit to the United Kingdom as guests of The Queen. They will stay at Buckingham Palace and undertake engagements in London and Manchester. The last state visit paid by a Chinese President to the UK was Hu Jintao in 2005. (Photo by Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - OCTOBER 21: (EMBARGOED FOR PUBLICATION IN UK NEWSPAPERS UNTIL 48 HOURS AFTER CREATE DATE AND TIME) Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge attends 'Creative Collaborations: UK & China' along with The President of the Peoples Republic of China, Xi Jinping and his wife Peng Liyuan at Lancaster House on October 21, 2015 in London, England. The President of the Peoples Republic of China, Mr Xi Jinping and his wife, Madame Peng Liyuan, are paying a State Visit to the United Kingdom as guests of The Queen. They will stay at Buckingham Palace and undertake engagements in London and Manchester. The last state visit paid by a Chinese President to the UK was Hu Jintao in 2005. (Photo by Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - OCTOBER 21: (EMBARGOED FOR PUBLICATION IN UK NEWSPAPERS UNTIL 48 HOURS AFTER CREATE DATE AND TIME) The President of the Peoples Republic of China, Xi Jinping, his wife Peng Liyuan, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge and Prince William, Duke of Cambridge attend 'Creative Collaborations: UK & China' at Lancaster House on October 21, 2015 in London, England. The President of the Peoples Republic of China, Mr Xi Jinping and his wife, Madame Peng Liyuan, are paying a State Visit to the United Kingdom as guests of The Queen. They will stay at Buckingham Palace and undertake engagements in London and Manchester. The last state visit paid by a Chinese President to the UK was Hu Jintao in 2005. (Photo by Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - OCTOBER 20: (EMBARGOED FOR PUBLICATION IN UK NEWSPAPERS UNTIL 48 HOURS AFTER CREATE DATE AND TIME) Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge arrives wearing a tiara made by Garrard London at Buckingham Palace to attend a State Banquet to honour the State Visit by China's President Xi Jinping on October 20, 2015 in London, England. The President of the Peoples Republic of China, Mr Xi Jinping and his wife, Madame Peng Liyuan, are paying a State Visit to the United Kingdom as guests of The Queen. They will stay at Buckingham Palace and undertake engagements in London and Manchester. The last state visit paid by a Chinese President to the UK was Hu Jintao in 2005. (Photo by Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)
CRATHIE, ABERDEENSHIRE - AUGUST 25: Queen Elizabeth II and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge are driven to Crathie Kirk Church before the service on August 25, 2019 in Crathie, Aberdeenshire. Queen Victoria began worshiping at the church in 1848 and every British monarch since has worshiped there while staying at nearby Balmoral Castle (Photo by Duncan McGlynn/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 02: Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge attends day 2 of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club on July 02, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Karwai Tang/Getty Images)
COWES, ENGLAND - AUGUST 09: Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge and her husband Prince William, Duke of Cambridge competing on behalf of The Royal Foundation at the inaugural King’s Cup regatta are seen during the prize giving ceremony ahead of Cowes SailGP on August 09, 2019 in Cowes, England. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
COWES, ENGLAND - AUGUST 09: Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge and her husband Prince William, Duke of Cambridge competing on behalf of The Royal Foundation at the inaugural King’s Cup regatta are seen during the prize giving ceremony ahead of Cowes SailGP on August 09, 2019 in Cowes, England. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
COWES, ENGLAND - AUGUST 09: Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge competing on behalf of The Royal Foundation during the prizegiving at the inaugural King’s Cup regatta much to the amusement of Prince William, Duke of Cambridge hosted by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge ahead of Cowes SailGP on August 09, 2019 in Cowes, England. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 14: Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge laughs and smiles on Day 13 of The Championships - Wimbledon 2019 at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club on July 14, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Simon Stacpoole/Offside/Getty Images)
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"Initially I was like 'No, I can do this', emotionally, it wasn't really impacting me," she said.

"Then, as I got later in my pregnancy and the more the pandemic started to move along, it really did impact my mental health.

"I felt like I was angrier because I didn't have the support networks at home that I typically have."

She added: "But I never once felt that I needed to stop working where I work, because of the support I got from my team."

The duke and duchess paid tribute to the staff's "fantastic" work and told them they hoped to travel to thank them face to face in Canada one day.

William said: "I just wanted to just touch base and say how proud we are of all of you and everyone on the front line who have led the way, very stoically, very bravely and put patient care right at the top of the list, and done a fantastic job.

"So, well done to all of you, and I hope Catherine and I can come and visit you guys one day and say that to you in person."

Kate added: "It's an amazing role that you're playing and a hugely tough one as well, so we're in huge admiration for everything you're doing."

The duchess described it as "heartbreaking" when she heard that a patient's wife had sung to him from a phone held in a bag as staff did their utmost to keep loved ones connected during the crisis.

Kate said: "That's heartbreaking to hear. You guys see that and feel that on a daily basis. How do you manage yourself? Are you all OK?"

The couple had been told of the distress experienced by patients and their families who were separated from one another.

William asked: "Have you guys had to pick up a lot of the emotion, that feeling, and be there to support the patients?"

Ms Dulai said they had come up with creative ways of ensuring relatives could stay in touch.

"It was a FaceTime call or a cordless phone in a bag that we took into a patient's room and his wife sang to him," she said.

"That was very important for her, and it meant the world for her to be able to speak to him."

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She added: "These families can't come in to see patients. They can't come in to see their loved ones. They can't be a part of their care. And so it's a lot of distress, I think, all the way around."

Fraser Health is one of the five regional health authorities in the province, delivering hospital and community-based health services to more than 1.8 million people, and the hospital has cared for many of the region's critically-ill Covid-19 patients.

William and Kate experienced what many have encountered when using video calls during lockdown when they realised the hospital workers could not see their faces on screen at the start of the call.

"Can you see us?" the duke asked, before the workers chorused: "No, we cannot."

With the problem quickly sorted, William and Kate's appearance was greeted with cheers and waves.

Asking how staff's mental health had been supported, William said: "Maybe some of you have been pushed to areas that you've maybe not gone before because of the worry, stress, anxiety, and what's happened in the last few months?"

Dr Gregory Haljan, head of the hospital's critical care, and regional medical director for research for Fraser Health, told the royal couple: "We've made it through the surge and now we're into the recovery phase where we're trying to take stock of all our stories and what we've been through and find the meaning in everything we've lost and everything we've gained so we can build some resilience for whatever comes next."

Also on the call, which took place on June 23, was critical care nurse Priya Sangha, who told the duke and duchess she had just finished a long shift.

William joked: "We don't want to hold you guys up much longer because Priya needs to go to bed.

"Not that you're looking tired, Priya, but I imagine you've been on for the last 12 hours."

Canada Day is a national holiday celebrated each year on July 1.

It marks the day the dominion of Canada was created in 1867 when the British North America Act united the British colonies of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick with the province of Canada to form a new nation.

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