VANCOUVER -- The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are marking Canada Day with a heartfelt thank-you to some of the people battling the COVID-19 pandemic in British Columbia.

In a video released on the Royal Family's YouTube page on Wednesday, Prince William and Catherine speak to staff at Surrey Memorial Hospital by videoconference to discuss their experiences working throughout the global crisis.

“I think I was really nervous initially,” said social worker Sunny Dulai, one of six health care workers chosen for the Zoom chat. “Then once they started talking, it became a conversation.”

“The Duke and Duchess are very, very charming and they put us all at ease very quickly,” said Dr. Gregory Haljan, Head of the Department of Critical Care at Surrey Memorial Hospital.

The video was recorded a week earlier, and staff were told not to discuss it until it was posted online.

Much of the conversation focuses on the mental health impacts on the workers, their families and the patients in their care, particularly those who were isolated from their loved ones during treatment.

One worker recounted an experience bringing a bagged phone into a patient's room so his wife could comfort him by singing.

"That's heartbreaking to hear, and you guys see that and feel that on a daily basis," the Duchess said.

The conversation ended with Prince William wishing them well and thanking them for the work they've done putting themselves at risk to continue providing care throughout the pandemic.

"Catherine and I just wanted to touch base and say how proud we are of all of you, everyone on the front line, who have led the way very stoically, very bravely, and have put patient care right at the top of the list and have done a fantastic job," he said.

Fraser Health said the gesture meant a lot to people at the hospital. One doctor who participated in the call described the experience as "wonderful."

“Oh my gosh! It was amazing and it was exciting. It felt like such an honour,” Dulai recounted with a smile.

"Their thoughtful questions about our experiences gave us a tremendous sense of pride in what our colleagues, patients and families have worked so hard to achieve under such pressure.”