Queen thanks nurses for their ‘wonderful work’ on International Nurses Day

The Queen has thanked nurses and praised their “wonderful work” on International Nurses Day.

Camilla met patients, families, and medical staff involved with Roald Dahl’s Marvellous Children’s Charity, of which she has been a patron since 2017, at the Royal London Hospital to mark the event on Sunday.

Addressing the nurses, she said: “Thank you for the wonderful work you do.”

She also asked them about their roles, how long they had worked for the charity, and their goals, and praised the “lovely organisation”.

Suzannah Goodchild and her foster son, Max, nine, have been supported by Lisa Smith, an epilepsy nurse from the charity.

Ms Goodchild is also a charity trustee, and said meeting the Queen meant “the absolute world”.

She told the PA news agency: “The visit was a great honour, it was really lovely, and it’s really fantastic that the profile of the charity is being escalated even higher because the work that these nurses do needs to be shouted from the rooftops.

“If you’ve got Her Majesty present who’s prepared to listen to us, invest in us, speak to the children, listen to our story and also be interested and empathetic, it means the absolute world.”

Ms Goodchild said Camilla was interested in her trustee role and asked how long she had been involved with the charity, and added: “You could just feel she was really engaged.

The Queen meets with families helped by Roald Dahl’s Marvellous Children’s Charity
The Queen meets families helped by Roald Dahl’s Marvellous Children’s Charity (Aaron Chown/PA)

“She didn’t rush through, she was going to give people the time she felt that she and they needed, and that was just wonderful.”

The Queen met the nurses, medical staff and patients in the Royal London Hospital’s Healing Suite, a room decorated with oversized inflatable toys and games, which is used as a space for patients and their families to play and unwind.

She met a four-year-old girl, whose family requested anonymity, who curtsied for the Queen and showed her a stuffed toy she had given to her sister, who is 16 months old and receives care from the charity.

The Queen complimented the older sister’s necklace and shoes, asked her if she loved her sister, and told her: “I’m sure you’re very, very helpful, you’ve given her your very special toy.”

Camilla also spoke to the family’s specialist paediatric nurse, Charlotte Duhig, who has cared for the family since December 2023.

Camilla shakes hands with TV presenter Alex Jones
Camilla shakes hands with TV presenter Alex Jones (Aaron Chown/PA)

When Ms Duhig said she had been in the nursing industry for seven years, the Queen replied: “You’re much too young.”

Ms Duhig said meeting the Queen was a “privilege” and added: “The Roald Dahl Charity is brilliant, we get really good support from them, which then filters through to our families and helps us to provide the best care for them”.

Camilla was joined on her visit by The One Show co-host Alex Jones, a supporter of the charity, who said: “I was delighted to be invited to meet some of the Roald Dahl Nurses today, and to find out more about the amazing work they do caring for these children with very complex conditions. International Nurses Day is the perfect time to thank them and celebrate their work.”

Roald Dahl’s Marvellous Children’s Charity provides specialist nurses and care for children with complex health conditions. There are more than 150 Roald Dahl nurses supporting more than 36,000 seriously ill children across the UK.

The Queen meets members of the Air Ambulance during a visit to the Royal London Hospital
The Queen meets members of the air ambulance service during a visit to the Royal London Hospital (Aaron Chown/PA)

As part of its Fund a Nurse Appeal, the charity is aiming to raise £1 million to establish more Roald Dahl nurses to care for children with complex medical needs.

The Queen became patron of the charity in 2017, when she was Duchess of Cornwall. Each year, she invites families supported by the organisation to Clarence House to decorate the Christmas tree.

Louise Griew, chief executive of the charity, confirmed it had been kept on by the Queen in the recent royal patronages review and said she was “delighted”.

She added: “Queen Camilla is really passionate about the Roald Dahl nurses and interested in how they help. It’s wonderful to have her support.”

International Nurses Day is celebrated each year on May 12, the anniversary of Florence Nightingale’s birth.

Roshni Vadher, a healthcare transition nurse specialist who has worked with the charity for two years, said: “It’s nice to be one, acknowledged on International Nurses Day, and also just to be acknowledged in general, and the Roald Dahl charity is very special.

“We get to tap into this amazing network of nurses who do a great job in providing direct support to patients, and also to each other.”