Prince William watches robotic surgery at Royal Marsden & talks of being Harry’s best man

Today, the Duke of Cambridge kicked off his 2018 schedule with a visit to Royal Marsden Hospital in Chelsea. During the visit, Prince William donned scrubs to watch a robotic surgery and spoke to patients on the wards.

Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, visits The Royal Marsden Hospital, where he viewed two pioneering robotic surgeries. Picture by i-Images / Pool

The Duke has been President of the Royal Marsden since 2007, and he has visited the hospital on many occasions, the most recent visit being in May of last year.  The position of President was previously held by William’s mother ,Diana, Princess of Wales – the hospital was the location for Diana’s first solo engagement back in 1982.

Royal Marsden Hospital is a pioneer of the latest cancer treatment and technologies; the hospital is actually the largest cancer centre in Europe, treating more than 50,000 people annually.

In the UK, the hospital is the forerunner in the use of da Vinci robotic surgery to treat cancer, which was first introduced at the Royal Marsden in 2007. Robotic surgery is less invasive and takes less time than a traditional operation; it also generally leaves less scarring and has a faster recovery period.

Today, The Duke of Cambridge was invited to stand in the operating theatre with the surgeons and watch two procedures. The procedures included removing tumours from a patient’s tongue and another from a patient’s oesophagus.

Professor Vinidh Paleri and his operating team explained the procedures to the royal guest, who seemed very interested in learning more about the robotic technology.

The Duke of Cambridge speaks with surgeons during a minimally invasive robotic assisted tongue base hemiglossectomy surgery during his visit to The Royal Marsden Hospita. Picture by i-Images / Pool

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Back in 1996, The Princess of Wales also wore scrubs to watch an operation at the Royal Marsden, although Diana watched a heart operation.

Prince William then visited the hospital’s Burdett-Coutts Ward, where he took the time to speak to patients who are receiving cancer treatment. Describing what he had seen in the operating theatre, the Duke joked that the robotic technology was similar to “Playstation gear”.

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Prince William, Duke of Cambridge speaks to patient Vusof Omar (L) during his visit toThe Royal Marsden Hospital. Picture by i-Images / Pool

He also praised the procedure, adding: “It’s fascinating watching the robot work, it’s so precise, you see it up close and you can really see how the human body is and how it works. You’re literally going right into the tumour so you see exactly with precision where the tumour is – it’s incredible – I was really, really impressed with it.”

Today was also the first day of work in 2018 for his wife, as The Duchess of Cambridge visited Reach Academy, while his daughter, Princess Charlotte, began nursery earlier this week. William’s younger brother and his fiancée, Meghan Markle, had their first engagement of 2018 yesterday when the couple visited Reprezent FM.

After the visit to the Royal Marsden, the Duke had another engagement with the charity CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably), which is one of the main partners of William, Kate and Harry’s Heads Together campaign. The charity was holding an event to launch their new mental health initiative, the Best Man Project.

Prince William chats with volunteers from CALM’s Best Man Project (C/ @KensingtonRoyal Twitter)

The Best Man project focuses on how friendships can have a positive impact on mental health issues, and is particularly aimed at males. For example, the project encourages men to speak frankly about mental health and to watch out for such problems amongst their friends.

During tonight’s event, Prince William had a discussion with volunteers from the project, which included former football Rio Ferdinand, who has spoken widely on mental health issues following the death of his wife, including with Prince Harry for Heads Together.

Ferdinand also recently took part in an emotional video campaign with The Duke of Cambridge for Child Bereavement.

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Given that the initiative is named the ‘Best Man Project’, William had to field questions about whether or not he would be best man at Prince Harry’s upcoming nuptials to Meghan Markle – the Duke revealed that his brother hasn’t actually asked him yet!

As President of the FA, William also laughed about the fact that the FA Cup final clashes with the wedding on 19th May – he promised to ‘work it out’ and said he’ll ‘see what he can do’.

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