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Kate Middleton joins Prince William on a boat trip to Orkney

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge left Edinburgh by helicopter this morning to continue their royal tour of Scotland.

Kate, 39, looked chic in a recycled Massimo Dutti camel coat and wide-leg trousers as she boarded the helicopter outside the Palace of Holyroodhouse.

The couple are staying at the Queen’s official Scottish residence this week while carrying out a royal charm offensive to help persuade Scotland to resist the demands of nationalists for independence.

Today William, 38, and Kate are headed to Orkney, off the northeast coast, where they will visit local organisations.   

Kate, 39, looked chic in a camel coat and wide-leg trousers as she boarded the helicopter in the grounds of the Palace of Holyroodhouse, the Queen’s official residence

The couple are on their way to Orkney, off the northeast coast of Scotland, where they will carry out a series of engagements

The couple are on their way to Orkney, off the northeast coast of Scotland, where they will carry out a series of engagements

The helicopter was seen taking off outside the Palace of Holyroodhouse this morning as bystanders snapped pictures

The helicopter was seen taking off outside the Palace of Holyroodhouse this morning as bystanders snapped pictures

Prince William has been in Scotland since Friday. Yesterday the couple kicked off their joint engagements with a visit to Turning Point Scotland, a social care charity in Coatbridge, North Lanarkshire.

They learned about the support the organisation provides to those facing homelessness, mental health issues and substance abuse.

Later in the afternoon they visited the pioneering Scottish Violence Reduction Unit (SVRU), and learned about the support it provides to community organisations across the country.

In the evening they were joined in the café kitchen at the Palace of Holyroodhouse, where they are staying, by Sikh Sanjog to prepare meals which will be distributed to vulnerable families across the Edinburgh community. 

Kate sported a £59.99 Zara blazer and pleated midi skirt by Hope Fashion in the colour of the Scottish flag, which she accessorised with a pair of £1,395 ‘flora drop’ gold earrings from Scottish brand Hamilton & Inches, which has held a Royal Warrant as silversmiths to Her Majesty the Queen for more than 120 years.

Exact details of their Scottish tour schedule is being kept under wraps but the Duke and Duchess are expected to visit St Andrews University, where they met as students 20 years ago. 

The Duchess of Cambridge wore her hair swept back in a half-up do as she boarded the helicopter with Prince William

The Duchess of Cambridge wore her hair swept back in a half-up do as she boarded the helicopter with Prince William

Prince William carried a ring binder as he strode across the grounds of Holyroodhouse towards the helicopter

Prince William carried a ring binder as he strode across the grounds of Holyroodhouse towards the helicopter

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge appeared in good spirits as they made their way to the helicopter for a busy day

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge appeared in good spirits as they made their way to the helicopter for a busy day

The couple will also host a special drive-in screening of Disney’s Cruella for NHS staff, and will join young carers from the local Fife area for a session of land yachting on the beach.  

Their visit to Scotland is understood to be part of a wider strategy to emphasise the ‘cultural bonds’ between Scotland and the rest of the union.   

The Queen is passionate about the union and spends her annual summer break at Balmoral.

Her subtle comment about the independence referendum in 2014 – asking people to ‘think carefully about the future’ – while staying at Balmoral, was credited with influencing the vote to remain.

In his address on Saturday to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland in Edinburgh, Prince William not only touched upon some of the most private aspects of his life, but also struck a conciliatory tone.

‘It is my duty today to speak, but equally I am here to listen,’ he said. ‘In Scotland this week I will have my eyes and ears permanently open. Along with listening this week, there is something I do want to tell you.

‘Scotland is incredibly important to me and will always have a special place in my heart.’

William, who is known as the Earl of Strathearn in Scotland, was speaking in his role as Lord High Commissioner to the General Assembly, a ceremonial appointment dating back to the 16th Century. 

He spoke of his happy time at St Andrews university as a student and training as a pilot in Inverness, adding: ‘Scotland is the source of some of my happiest memories. But also my saddest.’

In what was interpreted as a nod to longevity, he referred to his children including Prince George, who is third in line to the throne. ‘George, Charlotte and Louis already know how dear Scotland is to both of us, and they are starting to build their own happy memories here too,’ he said. ‘We have no doubt they will grow up sharing our love and connection to Scotland from the Highlands to the Central Belt, from the Islands to the Borders.’ 

The Queen is making plans for her traditional ‘Holyrood Week’ in early summer. Aides say there will be several ‘high-profile events where Her Majesty will be seen out and about’. 

The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall will also be involved but the decision to send the Cambridges ahead was a clear part of the PR strategy. A source told the Mail On Sunday: ‘It’s about opening a dialogue – listening and talking. All members of the Royal Family have a strong affinity with Scotland.’

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk