Published by BBC NEWS - 4th July 2023
  • Published
Prince William and Aneira Thomas

The Prince and Princess of Wales have met the first person born under the National Health Service, at a tea party celebrating the NHS’s 75th anniversary.

Aneira Thomas told them she had been born in Carmarthenshire at 00:01 on 5 July 1948, the same day as the NHS.

She was named after the NHS founder and then Health Minister Aneurin Bevan.

Catherine, Princess of Wales, told current and ex-NHS staff at the party, at St Thomas’ Hospital, in London, “I wanted to come here and say thank you.”

Mrs Thomas told the royal couple: “Every maternity ward in the country was waiting for the first baby.

“The doctors delivering me kept looking at the clock, looking back at Mum.

“She was waiting to hear the word ‘push’ – but all she heard was, ‘Hold on, Edna.’

“Timing was everything.”

Prince William and Catherine, NHS 75th

Image source, Tom Dymond

Mrs Thomas went on to work in the NHS, as a mental-health nurse. Her four sisters also became nurses.

The NHS had also “saved both of my children”, she said, when her son and daughter had suffered “life-changing brain haemorrhages”.

Mrs Thomas has previously told a family story from before the founding of the NHS, recalling that when her grandfather broke his leg they had to sell their piano to pay the doctor’s bill.

Prince William and Catherine also spoke to Blanche Hines, a nurse for almost 50 years and part of the Windrush generation, whose daughter and grandson also work in health services.

“Wishing everyone a very happy 75th birthday at the NHS,” Prince William told guests at the event, organised by NHS Charities Together.

Current challenges

The anniversary comes in a year when NHS staff have been taking industrial action in disputes over pay.

The NHS charities focus on the wellbeing of the workforce, including offering psychological support and counselling.

Consultant clinical psychologist Dr Neil Rees said Prince William had “really understood the issues and complexities – particularly with the current challenges we’re facing”.

The royal visitors, filmed preparing cakes for the party, also addressed another question. Which goes on top on a scone – the jam or the cream?

“I always do jam and then cream,” Catherine said.

But Prince William, remaining politically neutral, replied: “I go for whichever is closest to me.”

royal family with text

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