Duke and Duchess of Cambridge light candle and leave flowers as they remember COVID victims

Rebecca Taylor
·Royal Correspondent
·4-min read

Watch: Prince William and Kate visit COVID vaccination centre

Prince William and his wife Kate lit a candle and laid daffodils to remember those who have died of coronavirus as they joined the national day of reflection.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visited Westminster Abbey, where they were married nearly 10 years ago, to thank those involved in the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine and remember those who died.

The abbey is now a vaccine hub, with a markedly different interior to on their wedding day in April 2011.

It was the couple's first visit there since last year's Commonwealth Day service, which was Prince Harry and Meghan's last engagement as senior royals.

Kate, 39, brought daffodils to lay at the abbey, while William, 38, lit a candle as they took a moment to reflect on the past year.

They held a minute's silence at midday in the abbey’s Shrine of St Edward the Confessor.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (centre) with Dean of Westminster The Very Reverend Dr David Hoyle,(right) and Paul Baumann, Receiver General and Chapter Clerk, arrive for a visit to the vaccination centre at Westminster Abbey, London, to pay tribute to the efforts of those involved in the Covid-19 vaccine rollout. Picture date: Tuesday March 23, 2021.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge at a vaccination centre at Westminster Abbey, London, where they paid tribute to the efforts of those involved in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout. (PA Images)
Britain's Prince William, Duke of Cambridge (R) speaks to health workers as he visits the coronavirus vaccination centre at Westminster Abbey, central London on March 23, 2021, to pay tribute to the efforts of those involved in the Covid-19 vaccine rollout. (Photo by Aaron Chown / POOL / AFP) (Photo by AARON CHOWN/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Prince William spoke to health workers at the coronavirus vaccination centre at Westminster Abbey. (Aaron Chown/AFP)
Britain's Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge speaks to staff during a visit to the coronavirus vaccination centre at Westminster Abbey, central London on March 23, 2021, to pay tribute to the efforts of those involved in the Covid-19 vaccine rollout. (Photo by Aaron Chown / POOL / AFP) (Photo by AARON CHOWN/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Kate also laid flowers to remember those who have died. (Aaron Chown/AFP)

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The royals were joined by the Dean of Westminster the Very Reverend Dr David Hoyle. He then led a series of short prayers.

Kate wore a cream embroidered Catherine Walker coat, and William had on a smart suit and tie.

The NHS opened the clinic in the abbey to provide 2,000 jabs a week to residents in Westminster.

Although it's a vaccine hub, the abbey is still able to run its daily Communion service.

The visit from the duke and duchess came as the country marked one year since the first national lockdown, with 23 March becoming a day of reflection.

A national minute's silence was held, and William's grandmother, the Queen, sent flowers to St Barts in London, where Prince Philip was treated earlier this month for a heart condition.

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Britain's Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Britain's Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, accompanied by the Dean of Westminster The Very Reverend David Hoyle (R) and the Receiver General and Chapter Clerk, Paul Baumann, (2R), arrive for a visit to the coronavirus vaccination centre at Westminster Abbey, central London on March 23, 2021, to pay tribute to the efforts of those involved in the Covid-19 vaccine rollout. (Photo by Aaron Chown / POOL / AFP) (Photo by AARON CHOWN/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
William and Kate with the Dean of Westminster The Very Reverend David Hoyle (R) and the Receiver General and Chapter Clerk, Paul Baumann, (2R). (Aaron Chown/AFP)
Britain's Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Britain's Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge speak to staff during a visit to the coronavirus vaccination centre at Westminster Abbey, central London on March 23, 2021, to pay tribute to the efforts of those involved in the Covid-19 vaccine rollout. (Photo by Aaron Chown / POOL / AFP) (Photo by AARON CHOWN/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
William and Kate will have to wait a little longer for their vaccines. (Aaron Chown/AFP)

Read more: Queen sends flowers to NHS hospital where Philip was treated as she marks one year of lockdown

The Queen, 94, and Philip, 99, have both had their first coronavirus vaccines, as have Prince Charles and Camilla, who are in their 70s.

William and Kate are likely to have to wait a few more months for their turn.

Chatting to one of the teams, William said: "I’m a while away yet until I get mine. But you’re getting there pretty fast so it won’t be long.

He added: “I’ve had plenty of vaccinations in my time. I get jabbed a lot.”

LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 23: Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge speaks with a member of the public during a visit to the Covid-19 vaccination centre at Westminster Abbey on March 23, 2021 in London, England. (Photo by Aaron Chown - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
Kate wore a Catherine Walker coat for the visit. (Aaron Chown - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
Britain's Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge (R) speaks to health workers as she visits the coronavirus vaccination centre at Westminster Abbey, central London on March 23, 2021, to pay tribute to the efforts of those involved in the Covid-19 vaccine rollout. (Photo by Aaron Chown / POOL / AFP) (Photo by AARON CHOWN/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Kate crossed her face covering elastic to keep the mask more fitted. (Aaron Chown/AFP)

Speaking to Sandy Thwaites, a former nurse who came out of retirement to help with the rollout, Kate asked: "Is there much trepidation beforehand?”

Ms Thwaites said afterwards: “She asked if the public were finding it difficult, whether they were anxious.

“I said they are quite anxious, a lot of questions especially concerning clots.

“They come armed with quite a lot of questions. Some are crying, some are relieved, some are happy. But no-one has turned away.”

The Cambridges moved back down to London in early March, having been in Anmer Hall, their Norfolk home during the Christmas period and following lockdown.