Duke and Duchess of Cambridge make impromptu FaceTime call to father of paramedic: 'You must be very proud'

Rebecca Taylor
·Royal Correspondent
·4 min read

Watch: William and Kate FaceTime paramedic’s dad in Bangladesh at ambulance station

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge spent time video calling a paramedic's father in Bangladesh during a visit to an ambulance station in East London as they ramp up in-person engagements.

Prince William and Kate were asked by paramedic Jahrin Khan if they would FaceTime her father Abu, and the two royals agreed, chatting to him briefly on her phone.

The couple were in Newham, east London, visiting ambulance staff to hear about how they have coped during the coronavirus pandemic.

It's only their second in-person engagement since the bombshell interview between William's brother Prince Harry, his wife Meghan Markle and the TV talk show host Oprah Winfrey.

It's the first time William has been out in public since Winfrey's friend Gayle King went on to reveal that the first post-interview phone call between the brothers was "not productive".

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, during a visit to Newham ambulance station in East London, talk with the family of paramedic Jahrin (Jay) Khan via a mobile phone. The family is in London but her father joined the conversation from Bangladesh. Ms Khan has been unable to see her family through the pandemic. Picture date: Thursday March 18, 2021.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge talk with the family of paramedic Jahrin (Jay) Khan via her mobile phone. (PA Images)
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge shelter under an umbrealla during a visit to Newham ambulance station in East London. (PA Images)
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge shelter under an umbrella during a visit to Newham ambulance station in East London. (PA Images)

Read more: Prince William teases wife Kate as they share St Patrick's Day message

During the visit on a rainy Thursday morning, the duke and duchess saw the station's wellbeing garden, and heard from Khan about how she has had to isolate from her family during the pandemic.

On the phone to Khan's father, William said: "You must be very proud of your daughter.”

Abu replied: “Yes we are all very proud of her.”

The royals also called Khan's sister Nasrin and granddad Baharam, who are in the UK.

William told them: “She works very hard and she’s looking forward to seeing you soon.”

Kate said: “Hopefully it won’t be too long before you can all meet up and see each other again.”

The couple laughed as Khan told her family: “Say bye now. Let them go.”

William quipped: “We can stay here and do some more family chatting if that works?”

The Duchess of Cambridge speaking to staff during a visit to Newham ambulance station. (PA images)
The Duchess of Cambridge speaking to staff during a visit to Newham ambulance station. (PA images)
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge during a visit to Newham ambulance station in East London. Picture date: Thursday March 18, 2021.
The Duchess of Cambridge wore a camel coat and a face mask during the visit. (PA Images)

Read more: Prince Philip thanks medical staff as he returns to Windsor Castle after longest hospital stay

During the visit, the couple also heard about the wider initiatives by the London Ambulance Service (LAS), such as wellbeing tea trucks, which travel to hospitals and control centres around London to deliver hot drinks and snacks to ambulance staff and volunteers.

William, 38, and Kate, 39, met Shani Smith, who has been running one of the tea trucks for the last year, and found out about how she has used her mental health training to support her colleagues.

Paramedic Smith, who has worked for the LAS for 20 years, said it was the most challenging time she had ever experienced.

She said: "It’s been like one long major incident."

Britain's Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, wearing a face covering due to Covid-19, meets with members of the ambulance service in the wellbeing garden during a visit to Newham Ambulance Station in east London on March 18, 2021. (Photo by RICHARD POHLE / POOL / AFP) (Photo by RICHARD POHLE/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Kate chatted to members of the ambulance service in the wellbeing garden of the station. (Ruchard Pohle/AFP via Getty Images)
Britain's Prince William, Duke of Cambridge (L) and Britain's Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge (2R), both wearing face coverings due to Covid-19, talk with members of the ambulance service in the wellbeing garden during a visit to Newham Ambulance Station in east London on March 18, 2021, where they learned about their experiences during the coronavirus pandemic. (Photo by RICHARD POHLE / POOL / AFP) (Photo by RICHARD POHLE/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
The couple heard about the paramedics experiences during the pandemic. (Richard Pohle/AFP)

The duchess was wearing a long camel-coloured double breasted coat with colour-coordinated floral face mask, while the duke was in a navy face mask and matching overcoat.

LAS has received £100,000 in funding from NHS Charities Together, of which the duke and duchess are both patrons.

The funding has helped expand the tea truck service, and create isolation packs and food for staff at various ambulance sites.

Kensington Palace said William is "committed to supporting the mental health and wellbeing of the emergency services community, having witnessed first-hand the challenges that emergency responders face on a daily basis during his roles as both an Air Ambulance and RAF Search and Rescue pilot".

He has previously spoken about the toll some of the jobs took on him while he was a pilot.

Mental health has been a continued focus of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge through the Royal Foundation, particularly during the pandemic.

Watch: Prince William teases Kate as they share St Patrick's Day message