Earlier this week, we reported that Prince William had secretly battled COVID-19 back in April, when he “struggled to breathe” due to the virus. Now, William is honoring the first responders who have been on the frontlines of the coronavirus pandemic from the very beginning.

On Wednesday, William presented the Special Recognition Award for Excellence in the Field of Mental Health during the virtual edition of the annual Fire Fighter’s Charity Spirit of Fire Awards. While presenting the award, the 38 year-old royal said that the COVID-19 crisis has “presented a unique challenge for all emergency responders” over the past few months.

“[They] have had to adapt to new ways of working whilst continuing to save lives and help those in need, day-in-day-out,” William explained. “This is what makes the achievements that we are celebrating tonight all the more extraordinary.”

“It is more important than ever that those on the frontline know where they can turn to for support,” he added. “The work of the Fire Fighters Charity, and all of the organizations who support our blue light services, is central to ensuring the long-term health and wellbeing of our emergency responders.”

This comes after it was reported that William had secretly battled coronavirus back in April. Though he kept his diagnosis a secret, his battle with the deadly virus was far from easy for him, according to a source close to the royal.

“William insisted on keeping this low-key,” the insider told US Weekly. “Only a handful of family members, senior royal staff and close friends knew about it at the time.”

“He followed all the necessary self-isolation regulations, refused to let it get him down and even managed to work whilst recovering at home in a sectioned-off area,” the source said. “There were rough moments, of course, and William learned firsthand how awful this virus is and how seriously it needs to be taken.”

William was diagnosed just after his father Prince Charles tested positive for COVID-19 at the end of March. Luckily, the 71 year-old heir to the throne was able to beat the virus.

“I was lucky, in my case, and got away with it quite lightly. I’ve had it and can still understand what other people are going through,” Charles told Sky News back in June. “I feel particularly for those, for instance, who’ve lost their loved ones but were unable to be with them at the time. That’s, to me, the most ghastly thing. But in order to prevent this from happening to so many more people, this is why I’m determined to find a way out of this.”