The Queen brightened up a dull and drizzly day in London, with a purple outfit in her first engagement of 2020 since returning from Norfolk. She officially opened a £100 million medical facility at UCLH (University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust); specifically, the Royal National ENT (Ear, Nose and Throat) Hospital and the Eastman Dental Hospital.
Whilst there, Her Majesty was given a tour of the two facilities, which now share a state-of-the-art building in central London. The Queen also got to meet medical staff, who care for the patients at the hospitals.
On the dental specialist floor, The Queen met a group of dentists and dental nurses, who treat patients as well as teach some of the postgraduate dental hygiene students there.
The Queen met Lily Conlan, eight, who told her all about her two cochlear implants and the party her family throws each year to celebrate hearing again. Lily said: “Every year, as well as a birthday party, I have a party for my cochlear implants, so we celebrate my hearing.”
The Queen said it was “splendid”.
Her Majesty met children and families who have been taking part in creative health play session and saw first hand the work the team does; the sessions help children deal with pre-treatment nerves and explain their conditions to them.
Flo Panel-Coates, the chief nurse at UCLH, paid tribute to the Monarch and compared her to the nursing profession as she commented on the rocky period The Queen and the Royal Family have endured, saying: “She’s a consummate professional, isn’t she?
“She comes out and does what we all do in the health service – she does the right thing and does her duty for the people she serves.”
Kerry Tilbury, one of the teaching nurses, showed her a dental model with wire braces fitted. The Queen revealed that she had worn braces as a child: “I had wires; luckily it was a very long time ago.”
Elizabeth II went on to meet a young boy in the paediatric dental unit, who beamed when his dentist stopped work so the royal visitor could chat to him, a break in treatment for two fused front teeth.
As the schoolboy sat in the dentist’s chair, The Queen asked him: “What are you having done?”
Grinning and baring his teeth, he told her: “I’m having braces”, to which she replied: “I think it’s worth it, in the end.”
At the ENT unit, John Graham, a retired surgeon, told the Monarch about his pioneering work almost 40 years ago which led him to perform one of the first cochlear implants in the country in 1982.
The Royal National ENT and Eastman Dental Hospitals will schedule over 200,000 appointments in the next year.
The royal visit was completed with the unveiling of a plaque, to mark The Queen’s time there, before she was presented with a bouquet of flowers as she left.
Thank you to 11-year-old Aaliyah for the lovely flowers. 💐
Aaliyah has been hearing impaired from birth and wore hearing aids until 2019 when she had her cochlear implants surgery. pic.twitter.com/TEfS5o4VUP
— The Royal Family (@RoyalFamily) February 19, 2020