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The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall officially open the Chelsea Children's Hospital

18th March 2014

The Duchess of Cornwall holds 10-month-old Majed Dhaif

The Duchess of Cornwall holds 10-month-old Majed Dhaif

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The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall today officially opened the Chelsea Children's Hospital.

They chatted to hospital staff, patients and parents as they toured the facility, which cares for more than 75,000 children a year

Their Royal Highnesses also had a go at operating the hospital's "da Vinci"
robot, the UK's first surgical arm dedicated to babies and children. The arm enables operations to be carried out with more intricacy and less damage and scarring to tissue.

The Duchess of Cornwall had most success at the helm of the £1 million state-of-the-art surgical arm, which moves in a way which mimics the human wrist but with more precision. She was soon able to master the device, as a doctor joked: "The patient is alive!"

The Prince of Wales however quickly gave up after struggling to get the hang of the mechanism. Their Royal Highnesses were both delighted to be presented with certificates of competence in surgical training.

During the tour of the hospital, The Prince and The Duchess were greeted by a number of young patients and their parents at the hospital, which was created through a redevelopment of paediatric services at the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.

Holding 10-month-old Majed Dhaif, The Duchess, wearing a cream cashmere suit designed by Anna Valentine, remarked that it was just like holding Prince George. Majed, who suffers from gastroenteritis problems and has been at the hospital since October, managed to remove one of Her Royal Highness's earrings as she held him in her arms.

Another young patient Their Royal Highness met was 13-month-old Henry Rufus Hodgson, who has been diagnosed with pneumonia and was spending his second day at the hospital after suffering from a rash.

His mother, Heidi Wilson, is currently expecting her second child.

She said: "We were looking for a second name for Henry and decided on Rufus, so he would be HRH. It was deliberate.

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The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall officially open the new Chelsea Children's Hospital

The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall meet patients at the Chelsea Children's Hospital

The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall meet patients at the Chelsea Children's Hospital

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The children's hospital has been treating patients since September 2011. It now comprises four new paediatric theatres, four new wards including a high dependency unit, dedicated children's burns unit, and a neonatal intensive care unit.

The new facility follows in the tradition of its predecessor, Westminster Children's Hospital, which was built in 1907 and had its services transferred to Chelsea and Westminster when it was opened by The Queen in 1993.

Unveiling a plaque to open the facility, The Prince of Wales said: "We are so delighted to come and join you on this occasion. We both worried a great deal that we'd caused enough disruption to the smooth running of this hospital for one day.

"But nevertheless we've had a brief glimpse of the remarkable services provided by the hospital and in particular the children's department.

"We'd like to congratulate all those who completed the project on time and on budget. It is a remarkable achievement."

The Prince also hailed the role played by nurses and volunteers at the hospital, adding: "You play such an important part in the life of the capital and the life of the country and you've transformed so many people's lives."

Simon Eccles, Clinical Director of Children's and Young People's Services, said: "I hope you've had a flavour of what the children's hospital is all about. It's about all aspects of children's care, educating them, to give them and their families the absolute best care in London."

The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall recently visited Kings College Hospital in London in January 2014 and The Prince of Wales also visited Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham at the end of last year.

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