Royals Welcomed To New Forces Rehab Centre In Rare Joint Visit

The Prince of Wales, the Duchess of Cornwall and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have visited the Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre.

The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall have carried out a rare joint engagement with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, visiting the new Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre (DMRC).

Prince Charles, Camilla, Prince William and Kate were given a tour of the £300m facility near Loughborough, by its commanding officer, Captain Alison Hofman.

They met patients and staff, visiting some of the therapy areas and the prosthetics workshop.

The Ministry of Defence-operated centre on the Stanford Hall estate, near Loughborough, began admitting patients in October 2018 and provides rehab treatment to serving military who have suffered battlefield, neurological or other injuries and illnesses.

Prince William tries a spot of wheelchair basketball with the help of his father, Prince Charles.

Prince William was patron of the centre's fundraising appeal, and he was encouraged to try a spot of wheelchair basketball during his visit.

"[Prince Charles] gave him the moral support and he managed to get [the ball] in at the second attempt," Major Les Richardson said.

It was clear just how much the visit meant to the patients, especially Lance Corporal Jack Silverwood, who is recovering after losing his hand in an off-duty accident.

"Great seeing them come round", he said.

"For people who are wounded during work and stuff, it's good to know that they're not just put in a corner and forgotten about", he added.

Although veterans can undergo an assessment at the DMRC, it offers treatment for serving personnel only.

In May 2019, cameras were allowed inside to look at the facility for the first time.

Watch: A look inside the DMRC last year.

The centre is part of the overall Defence and National Rehabilitation Centre (DNRC) programme, which is also proposing a facility-sharing arrangement with the National Health Service at Stanford Hall.

Prince William attended the official handover of the newly built defence centre to the nation in June 2018.

The DNRC was the idea of the late sixth Duke of Westminster, Gerald Grosvenor, who led the £300 million fundraising drive with a personal gift of £70 million.

Previously, military patients had attended the rehabilitation centre in Headley Court, Surrey, which treated 20,000 people per year.

Rehabilitating patients for around 70 years, it only opened its doors to veterans in 2016 - two years before its closure.

The new facility at Stanford Hall is four times the size of its predecessor and offers designated bedrooms to patients who had once shared a room between four. 

New technology is a major focus at Stanford Hall, with a more advanced biomechanical lab than its predecessor at Headley Court.

The equipment uses the same principles as those used in Hollywood animation - meaning treatment teams can track the movement of patients and analyse their unique needs.