The Prince and Princess of Wales were urged to “keep going” as they made their first public appearance since the publication of Prince Harry’s memoir, but remained tight-lipped over its explosive family revelations.
The couple paid a visit to the new Royal Liverpool University Hospital on Thursday - just days after coming under fire by the Duke of Sussex, who laid bare the intimate details of several run-ins with the couple, including a physical fight with William.
As they got out of their car on arrival at the hospital, someone shouted: “Were you hurt by the comments in Harry’s book, Sir?” But there was no response and it was unclear whether they heard.
Among the crowds clamouring to shake their hands inside was patient Sylvia Staniford, 81, who gripped Prince William’s hand tightly and said: “Keep going, keep going. Scousers love you.”
William smiled at her warmly and replied: “Yes, I will.”
Mrs Staniford said afterwards: “Of course that was a reference to Harry. He knew what I was talking about.”
The Prince and Princess were greeted by huge cheers from hundreds of staff and patients who crowded into the atrium and on balconies desperate to catch a glimpse of the royal visitors.
They posed for numerous selfies, stroked Rosie the therapy dog, and asked scores of nurses and healthcare workers how they were coping, urging them to look after themselves and thanking them for the “fantastic” jobs they were doing.
The hospital is the biggest in the country to provide all inpatients with single en-suite bedrooms.
Opened last October, it has 640 beds, including 40 critical care beds for patients in the intensive care unit and high dependency unit, and also hosts a number of specialist services and focuses on complex planned care.
The Prince and Princess visited the critical care ward to see the new state-of-the-art facilities, meeting medical and support staff.
Harry's controversial autobiography, Spare, has become the fastest selling non-fiction book in history, according to publisher Penguin Random House, which reported more than 1.4 million copies were sold on Tuesday, the first day it went on sale.
The book includes claims the Prince of Wales physically attacked Harry and teased him about his panic attacks, and that the King put his own interests above Harry's and was jealous of the Duchess of Sussex and the Princess of Wales.
Reports of a fractious friendship between Meghan and Kate were confirmed in Spare, with Harry recounting how the princess, pregnant at the time with Prince Louis, said she was owed an apology from his wife who had previously commented Kate was suffering from "baby brain" due to her "hormones".
He shed further light on the row over Princess Charlotte's bridesmaid dress claiming, contrary to reports at the time, Kate was not in tears but the incident had left Meghan "sobbing on the floor".
During a series of interviews to promote Spare, Harry defended himself against strong criticism, following his revelation in the book he killed 25 Taliban members during the Afghanistan war.
He denied boasting about the killings, when interviewed by Stephen Colbert on CBS's The Late Show, and claimed members of his family are in an active campaign to "undermine" his autobiography.
The King also carried his first official engagement since the publication of his son's book, visiting the community of Aboyne, close to the late Queen's Balmoral estate in Aberdeenshire, to tour the Aboyne and Mid Deeside Community Shed and meet local hardship support groups.
A YouGov poll has found the popularity of Harry has fallen since his book was published with 68% of 1,691 adults, polled on Tuesday and Wednesday, having a negative opinion about him while 24% thought positively.
The online research data group said the figures meant the duke had his lowest ever net favourability rating of minus 44, down from minus 38 last week, which had been his previous record low.