Kate Middleton and Prince William waved to staff and residents during a visit to a care home in Bath on the second day of their royal tour.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, both 38, embarked on a journey across the country on the royal train on Sunday, visiting cities across the country including Edinburgh and Manchester yesterday to pay tribute in person to the individuals and organisations that have gone above and beyond in response to the Covid-19 crisis.
And today the royal couple hopped off to visit Cleeve Court Care Home in Twerton, and were greeted by choristers from Bath Abbey Choir, who performed Christmas songs for the home’s residents.
Choir Master Huw Williams stepped in after learning that Cleeve Court’s residents were not be able to make their usual visit to the carol service at Bath Abbey this year due to Covid-19 restrictions.
The visit took place outside the care home as the couple chatted staff to hear about their experiences of providing care and helping residents to stay connected to their loved ones throughout the pandemic and lockdown.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, both 38, met staff and residents during a visit to Cleeve Court Residential Care, Cleeve Green, in Twerton, Bath today
The royal couple (picture) hopped off to visit Cleeve Court Care Home in Twerton, and were greeted by choristers from Bath Abbey Choir, who performed Christmas songs for the home’s residents
Kate Middleton, 38, wowed in pillar-box red as she and Prince William, 38, kicked off the second day of their royal tour today in Cardiff by toasting marshmallows together
The Duchess coo-ed over a traditional Welsh Love Spoon that she had been bought (pictured, left), while William laughed at his Guinness beer mat flipping game (right)
The Duke and Duchess also met a small number of residents, including Tricia Davis, of Bath & North East Somerset Council which runs the home, who said, ‘We are absolutely delighted by the visit which means 2020 can end on a positive note.’
‘This visit is very important and means so much to the staff and the residents. We have been fortunate not to have had an outbreak of Covid-19 here, but we know the threat has been very real.’
Cleeve Court is a 46 bed care home that provides care and health services in a safe environment for older adults with dementia.
The home offers a broad range of activities which aim to promote independence by developing and maintaining and enhancing people’s skills, interests and abilities.
The Choir said they were delighted to be able to sing for the residents outside the home. The event was not advertised to prevent crowds, but a few residents on the the estate gathered outside to watch the royal couple arrive.
Bath Abbey has received support during the pandemic through the Government’s Culture Recovery Fund. As a Christmas gift, local firm – The Fine Cheese Company, Bath – donated a hamper of cheeses and cakes for residents and staff.
The Duke and Duchess also met a small number of residents, including Tricia Davis, of Bath & North East Somerset Council which runs the home, who said, ‘We are absolutely delighted by the visit which means 2020 can end on a positive note’ (pictured)
Kate Middleton and Prince William were seen waving to care home residents in Bath during their visit today (pictured)
Resident Tricia Davis, of Bath & North East Somerset Council, which runs the home, told how they were ‘absolutely delighted’ by the royal visit – adding it ‘means 2020 can end on a positive note’
Tricia Davis added the visit is’ very important and means so much to the staff and the residents.’ Pictured, Kate Middleton and Prince William
The event was not advertised to prevent crowds, but a few residents on the the estate gathered outside to watch the royal couple arrive. Pictured, Kate and Prince William clapping
The couple (pictured left, and right) heard how the care home offers a broad range of activities which aim to promote independence by developing and maintaining and enhancing people’s skills, interests and abilities
The mother-of-three, who wowed in pillar-box red, recycled an Alexander McQueen long-line cover-up for the occasion. Pictured, with Prince William
The royals (pictured, left and right) visited Cleeve Court – a 46 bed care home that provides care and health services in a safe environment for older adults with dementia
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge appeared in high spirits as they spoke with students from the University of Cardiff and enjoyed a gift exchange
The Duke and Duchess shared a tender moment as they attended a ‘Toast Your Own Marshmallow’ stall during a visit to Cardiff Castle earlier today
The Duchess of Cambridge re-wore a scarlet Alexander McQueen coat for the occasion, pairing the garment with a tartan skirt and matching scarf
The couple stepped out this morning for their first engagement at Cardiff Castle, with the couple sharing a tender moment as they visited a Toast Your Own Marshmallow stall earlier this morning.
As the duke and duchess arrived at the castle by car, they were greeted by ‘Samba Galez’, Wales’ longest running Samba Band, who have been supported during the pandemic through the UK Government’s Culture Recovery Fund.
The mother-of-three, who wowed in pillar-box red, recycled an Alexander McQueen long-line cover-up for the occasion, which she first wore in October for the launch of her Hold Still competition, and paired the coat with a red tartan scarf and matching skirt.
The Duchess donned her black Ralph Lauren boots for the occasion, and stayed warm with a pair of black leather gloves.
She swept her hair into a bouncy half updo, revealing her gold hoop earrings from independent Welsh designer Hayley Jones’ brand Spells of Love.
William and Kate have been keen during their trip to showcase the UK’s arts, heritage and live performance sector, which has been supported throughout the pandemic by the Government’s £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund.
As the couple spoke with Wales’ longest running Samba Band, William told them: ‘I am sure your fingers are freezing. Is this the first time you have played together for a while? It’s beautiful music. Fingers crossed 2021 is going to be a better year.
‘Have a great Christmas and keep playing!’
There was also a treat in the form of legendary Welsh entertainer Max Boyce, who read out his beautiful poem ‘When Just The Tide Went Out’, which went viral earlier in the year.
Prince William and Kate Middleton put safety first in face masks as they bent down to same eye level as the children and engaged in conversation
At the train station in Bath, Prince William and Kate arrived on the platform to speak with Lord Lieutenant of Somerset Mrs Annie Maw
The Duke and Duchess of took time to meet and pose for a socially distanced photo with Otto Warner, 8, centre, who has today come out of cancer treatment and was by chance hoping to meet the royal couple with his family, including sisters Jasmine Warner, 5, left, Poppy, 10, right, and mum Georgie, far left, as William and Kate arrived at Bath Spa train station
Prince William and Kate bent down to meet with the young cancer patient, who was hoping to meet the royal couple at the station by chance today
Otto was joined by his family Jasmine Warner, 5, centre, Poppy, 10, right, and mum Georgie, to meet the royal couple earlier today
The poem recalled the highs and lows of lockdown and was written in tribute to the NHS.
Today he added two lines, in honour of the royal visitors: ‘And I’ll remember nurses who stretchered all the pain, who Kate and William came to thank, on the Queen’s royal train.’
The couple smiled, clearly touched.
At another point, however, they were forced to put on diplomatic poker faces – although both were seen to smile slightly – when Mr Boyce read out the words: ‘And I prayed last week for Boris, who knocked on Heavens door And I thought of voting Tory, which I’ve never done before.’
Mr Boyce said: ‘It is a great honour and privilege to be asked to read you my poem. I wrote this at the height of the pandemic when all Wales was in lockdown. ‘
Kate replied: ‘Well done, fantastic. It was lovely.’
‘How long did it take you to write?’ Asked William.
He was told two weeks – but only had since yesterday morning to come up with his extra lines in their honour.
‘Oh sorry,’ smiled the duchess.’It’s difficult to change something already written. Well done, it really captures what the nation was feeling. It was very, very moving.’
During the visit, the couple also admitted that they were still struggling over their plans for Christmas, telling Cardiff University students they didn’t know who to spend the festive season with.
For their second stop of the day, the couple stepped off the train in Bath, ahead of a visit to a care home in the city to pay tribute to the efforts of care home staff throughout the COVID-19 pandemic
The royals arrived at Bath Spa train station, ahead of a visit to a care home in the city to pay tribute to the efforts of care home staff throughout the COVID-19 pandemic
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge donned face masks as they arrived at Bath Spa train station, ahead of a visit to a care home in the city (pictured, left and right)
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge arrive at Bath Spa train station, ahead of a visit to a care home in the city to pay tribute to the efforts of care home staff throughout the Covid-19 pandemic (pictured)
‘It is so difficult, we are still trying to make plans,’ William said. ‘It’s difficult to know what to do for the best.’
Lily Faulkner, 21, a second year Politics and International Studies student at Cardiff University said afterwards.
‘They were trying like the rest of us to make Christmas plans with their family and still weren’t 100 percent sure of what they were going to do or where they were going to be,’ she said.
The couple grabbed sticks loaded with giant marshmallows to toast around a small bonfire with Lily and two fellow students, Azaria Anaman, 23, who is in her first year of accounting and finance, and Shahzeb Akhtar, 21, who is his third year of studying optometry.
Kate struggled with her marshmallows, which kept sliding on her stick, and at one point giggled as it got stuck on her gloves.
‘I think I am going to have marshmallows on my fingers all day,’ she joked.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (pictured) during a visit to Cleeve Court Residential Care, Cleeve Green, in Twerton, Bath
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (pictured, left and right) spoke to staff about their experiences of providing care and helping residents to stay connected to their loved ones throughout the pandemic
The home offers a broad range of activities which aim to promote independence by developing and maintaining and enhancing people’s skills, interests and abilities. Pictured, Kate Middleton and Prince William
Earlier today, the Duke and Duchess visited Cardiff Castle to meet local university students and hear about some of the challenges they have experienced during the pandemic
William eventually had to put his down on the fire.
‘It’s got to go a little bit brown bit not as brown as this one,’ he grimaced. ‘I’ve not been paying attention. ‘
Kate told the students that she had ordered marshmallows for their three children – Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis – for their bonfire night celebrations.
The small ones, she explained, normally slip off onto the fire, so she ordered giant ones – like the ones they were holding.
‘I ordered them for the children. There was a bit of a sugar rush,’ she said, laughing and rolling her eyes.
The mother-of-three beamed as she held onto a trio of marshmallows before roasting the tasty treats over an open fire with the Duke
The Duchess swept her hair into a stunning half updo, revealing her gold hoop earrings by Welsh designer Hayley Jone’s Spells of Love brand
The couple enjoyed a quiet moment in the morning sunshine together as they stood at a Christmas stall at the castle during the second day of the tour
William commented that it was ‘the first jab today’, highlight the news that the first anti-Covid vaccines are being rolled out, and asked the group: ‘How have all you guys been? Have you been able to make any Christmas plans?
Lily was particularly touched to speak to the couple about mental health issues, having struggled with her own following the sad death of her father when she was just 18.
‘It was really good to talk to them about it. They were keen to know about how we dealt with it and helped each other.,’ she said.
‘They are such mental health advocates and when you struggle with mental health it can sometimes be really scary to come forward and say that you need the help. And when people like the Duke and Duchess say they support it, it is really reassuring. It’s ok to not be ok, sometimes.
‘It been interesting to say this least, this term. Very different. But it’s nice to know there has been support there and I have another year when hopefully we can go back to normality. ‘
The students said they only found out five minutes before the couple’s arrival who the mystery VIP visitors were going to be.
‘We had no idea it was this VIP,’ joked Shahzeb.
Azaria said: ‘It’s really good to know that they are interest in hearing about students and that they have had a tough time too.
The Duchess looked stunning in the vibrant red ensemble, matching her pillarbox red jacket with a vibrant tartan skirt and scarf
Later, the couple spoke with members of the public during their visit to Cardiff Castle, which kickstarted the second day of their festive tour
The mother-of-three giggled as she joined Prince William to speak with members of the public during the visit to Cardiff Castle earlier this morning
Despite the brisk weather, the Duchess appeared in high spirits as she chatted with members of the public at the Christmas market
‘Fortunately we have been really supported here. The way we have adapted to doing lectures virtually combined with traditional teaching, blended learning, it’s been good.’
The duke and duchess spent several minutes sitting down at a distance to chat to other groups of students about their experience at university this year.
Their last group was comprised six housemates who had ‘bubbled’ together, all studying a mixture of sports science and education, with whom they had agreed to take part in a ‘Secret Santa’ gift swap.
They all eagerly tore off the wrapping paper from their gifts and Kate had the group in giggles when it emerged that she had given Gwennan Lewis, 20, from Newport, a £13.99 ‘Prosecco Pong’ game.
It was comprised of several plastic glasses and balls and involves participants taking turns to throw a ball into their opponent’s glass and take a drink every time someone shoots and scores.
William bought Dewi Morgan, 19, who is in his second year of studying sport and exercise science at Cardiff Metropolitan, a finger flick table football game.
Meanwhile Prince William also donned a checked scarf for the occasion, tucking the cosy garment into his smart navy overcoat
The Duke and Duchess chatted animatedly with members of the public during the visit to Cardiff Castle earlier this morning during the tour
The Duchess coo-ed over a traditional Welsh Love Spoon that she had been bought, while William laughed at his Guinness beer mat flipping game. ‘I think this says a lot about me,’ he laughed.
‘I really hope you get to see your families this Christmas,’ he told the group.
Kate asked: ‘Is there much in your course that covers mental wellbeing? Have you had much support?’
Dewi told her: ‘As a house we have all supported each other . Some students have felt really isolated but have been very lucky. ‘
Afterwards Dewi joked that he had been tempted to buy the duke a ‘box of hairbands’ in a humorous nod to his thinning hair, but wasn’t sure how William would take it.
‘I bottled it! I bottled it!’ He said.
‘We could only spend a fiver and I thought the game would be a laugh. ‘
The couple arrived at a Christmas market at Cardiff castle earlier today for their first engagement of the final day of the royal tour
Prince William and Kate wrapped up warm with cosy scarves and gloves as they stepped out for the brisk morning event in Cardiff earlier this morning
Gwennan said: ‘We were meant to get something that represents us or the person we were giving it to. But it was £5 maximum. I like the Prosecco pong, it’s fun. Something to do at Christmas! ‘
The group said the had been really touched the couple had come to visit.
‘It’s great,’ said Gwennan. ‘A real shock but fantastic. It shows that they care that they want to come and check in on. Particularly chatting about our mental health. We couldn’t quite believe it.
Dewi added: ‘It was pretty surreal. But it was good to talk to them about what we have been through.There has been a lot of support from the university, The tutors had been great.’
The mother-of-three wore a vibrant scarlet ensemble as she joined Prince William for their first event earlier today at the castle in Cardiff
Kate, who was all smiles despite the chilly weather conditions, wrapped up warm in black leather gloves and a stylish tartan scarf
William and Kate left Euston Station on board the Royal Train on Sunday night penning a personal message of thanks for transport workers on a London Underground service information board.
The message read: ‘Thank you to all transport workers everywhere for keeping the country moving throughout this difficult year. Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas! Catherine. William’
It was a royal departure like no other and even featured a special performance from 80s pop star Shakin’ Stevens who performed his perennial festive favourite, ‘Merry Christmas Everyone’ for transport workers at the station.
The singer, known for a string of hits in the 1980s, sang his festive smash-hit single Merry Christmas Everyone for the couple and a group of transport workers.
Kate opted to wear her black Ralph Lauren boots for the occasion, which she matched with her black leather gloves as she arrived on the cold December morning
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge wrapped up as they stepped off the royal train and walked along the platform at Cardiff Central train station on the final day of a three-day tour across the country
The Duke and Duchess were met by Lord Lieutenant of South Glamorgan Morfudd Meredith as they arrived in Cardiff today and left the station in Cardiff
The track topped the charts during Christmas 1985 and was picked by William and Kate as the song they wanted to hear.
The Duchess, wearing an Alexander McQueen coat and tartan scarf, tapped her foot and swayed to the music as they waved to passengers from a balcony.
Stevens, 72, said he was ‘over the moon’ to be playing for the Duke and Duchess, revealing that it was the first time he had played for royalty in his long career.
‘I’m loving it, it was lovely to be invited,’ he said. ‘And it was them who chose the song. Over the moon.’
Stevens said the Cambridges were ‘certainly fans’ of his festive hit, adding: ‘They picked it!’
Before climbing aboard the royal train, the couple also met with transport workers at the station to hear about their experiences of working throughout the pandemic.
William told Orson Parris, a network traffic controller for Transport for London: ‘Fingers crossed 2021 gets things back to normal.’
The Duchess opted for an Alexander McQueen coat for the occasion, which she first wore in October while launching her Hold Still photography contest in London (pictured)
And the Duke told Alero Abbey, TfL area manager for Green Park and Euston: ‘It’s moments like this when people really appreciate what you do every day. Suddenly we all know what you do and that you do a really good job.’
Network Rail staff altered the departure boards for the occasion, changing Wolverhampton to Warmerhampton, Coventry to Coventry Carol and Northampton to Northpolehamton.
William and Kate were keen to personally pass on their thanks to Transport for London, Network Rail and train operating companies for everything they have done to keep the capital running throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
The couple’s first visit during their Christmas Express tour saw the couple depart the royal train in Edinburgh yesterday.
Among the party waiting to greet them was the Lord Provost of Edinburgh’s official piper, Louise Marshall, who piped the Royal couple through the concourse playing a medley of Christmas hits on the pipes.
The Royal couple’s first engagement of the whistle-stop tour of the UK was to staff at one of the Scottish Ambulance Service’s nerve centres at Newbridge, outside Edinburgh.
William, dressed in a dark blue coat and tartan scarf, and Kate, wearing a blue Catherine Walker coat and carrying a bag by Scottish designer Strathberry, thanked staff for their incredible efforts in coping with their demanding jobs while many were affected by personal Covid tragedies.
They chatted with staff and heard deeply moving accounts of how many of them have been affected personally during the crisis, while continuing to provide vital first response cover across the country.
During their visit, it was announced that the Royal couple would become joint patrons of NHS Charities Together, the charity which has worked tirelessly to provide hospitals and emergency workers with vital PPE equipment.
The SAS received funding from NHS Charities Together, a group of 240 NHS charities, which has been spent on indoor and outdoor wellbeing spaces for staff, as well as wellbeing packs with information booklets and reusable water bottles.
Prince William spoke at length with some of the paramedics about how the additional strains of working under the threat of Covid had impacted on their mental wellbeing.
After travelling overnight from London Euston, the duke was the first to step out of the Royal Claret-coloured carriages, followed by Kate in a Liberty print face covering, with a matching blue coat
During the first visit of their Royal Train Tour across the country, it was announced that The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will become Joint Patrons of NHS Charities Together
He and Kate also heard from paramedic Alistair Matson, 54, had to cope with his father falling sick and later dying in hospital during the pandemic. Mr Matson said: ‘It was very emotional talking to the Prince about losing my father.
‘He was very anxious to hear how we managed to cope with the mental strains of our job.
‘I was helped considerably by the great sense of cameraderie at my work. There was never any rush to come back and they have been like another family to me.
‘It was really heartening to see the Royal couple here today acknowledging what we do and their thanks means a lot to us.’
His colleague, John Kane, 59, told the Royal couple how he spent three weeks in an induced coma in Edinburgh’s Western General Hospital after contracting the virus.
He explained: ‘I had to be placed on a ventilator for three weeks and placed in an induced coma.
‘It was a terrifying time and the recovery has been slow, but again the SAS has helped that. The Prince was particularly interested in how we manage the mental wellbeing of our own staff.’
It also emerged during their visit that the couple had sent a special bouquet of flowers to the family of a veteran paramedic, who died last month after he re-enlisted in April four years after his retirement.
Rod Moore, from Falkirk, died aged 63 after contracting coronavirus. His funeral was due to take place during the royal visit.
After stopping in Edinburgh, the royal couple travelled to Berwick-Upon-Tweed, where they met pupils from Holy Trinity Church of England First School (pictured)
The Duke and Duchess (pictured) looked in high spirits as they left Holy Trinity Church of England First School on the first day of a three-day tour across the country
An SAS spokesman said: ‘I know that Rod’s family greatly appreciated the flowers sent on behalf of the Royal Family. It was a lovely gesture.’
The couple also made a particular point of thanking the cleaning staff at the unit, telling cleaner Ellen Reeder, 65, that she was ‘one of the most important people in the whole organisation, keeping everything together.’
Afterwards, Ms Reeder said: ‘It was such an honour for me to meet them. They kept it secret until this morning, which is just as well or I would have got tongue-tied speaking to them.
‘That has really made my day. In fact, I think it has made everyone’s day here to get that appreciation from the Royals… I am a huge fan.’
There was a fun twist at lunchtime at the Holy Trinity First School in Berwick-upon-Tweed where, as a treat for the children, Kensington Palace arranged for Rent a Reindeer to bring three animals – Chaz, Crackers and her six-month-old calf Echols – to the school.
Kate and William also thanked teachers for their efforts to support learning during in recent months.
Local saxophone group The Earl Grey Saxes played Christmas tunes, including Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, as the school’s 175 pupils waved and sang as the royal couple arrived.
Some wore antlers on their heads and some were in Santa hats for the visit.
William and Kate sanitised their hands as they entered the school grounds, a short drive from the Berwick railway station.
The Duke, who donned a cosy tartan scarf for his visit to Berwick-Upon-Tweed, could be seen sharing a laugh with onlookers about the weather during the royal tour
Meanwhile Kate beamed as she spoke with meets pupils wearing reindeer hairbands from Holy Trinity Church of England First School
After the visit, headteacher Nicholas Shaw said: ‘It has been fantastic and the children loved it.
‘We feel honoured to have been chosen and appreciate they are taking the time to think about teachers and the work that has been going on in schools.
‘It has been a challenge during lockdown, a lot of new skills have been learned. We stayed open throughout for children of key workers and vulnerable children.’
Later, the couple travelled to northern England, where Kate met volunteers who have supported elderly members of their local community throughout the COVID-19 pandemic at Batley Community Centre
The Duchess recycled a navy Hobbs coat, first worn in February during a visit to Wales, for the visit, while the Duke wore an olive green scarf
During the couple’s visit to the community centre, Kate and William chatted with volunteers and locals who had been helped by the service (pictured, with local Len Gardner)
Rent a Reindeer owner George Richardson brought Chaz, Crackers and Echols for the visit, and told William and Kate about caring for them and how coronavirus had affected his business.
Mr Richardson, who is based in Cold Hesledon, County Durham, said the booking by the palace had been ‘top secret’.
He said: ‘We got a phone call out of the blue two weeks ago, they asked us to bring a reindeer for the royal visit and we were happy to oblige.
‘We brought these three as a group, although Chaz is not the dad … he is the uncle. Mum and baby go with him and they are a nice group.
‘This was baby’s first outing and she took it in her stride.’
William and Kate’s third stop was Batley Community Centre in West Yorkshire.
The Duke and Duchess’ final stop of the day was to FareShare in Manchester where they paid tribute to volunteers and organisations across the UK who have supported vulnerable families throughout 2020
The mother-of-three donned a cosy Christmas jumper with an Icelandic style knit for their final visit of the day in Manchester last night
The duchess had swapped her blue Catherine Walker coat for a navy Hobbs cover-up, while William switched his tartan scarf for an olive green one for their arrival.
The couple met volunteers from the centre who have supported elderly members of the community throughout the pandemic by sending cards, having regular phone calls and dropping off shopping, food bags and activity packs.
William and Kate also met Len Gardner, a local resident with whom the duchess has been chatting on the phone after she secretly volunteered through the NHS Volunteer Responder Check In And Chat scheme.
The Duke and Duchess’ final stop of the day was to FareShare in Manchester where they paid tribute to volunteers and organisations across the UK who have supported vulnerable families throughout 2020.
FareShare redistributes surplus food from food businesses to 11,000 charities and community groups in all four nations across the UK – including school breakfast clubs, community centres, homeless shelters and food banks.
During the first national lockdown, the number of families relying on FareShare Greater Manchester for food nearly doubled overnight, and at the same time the charity was inundated with people offering to volunteer with them.
During the visit in Manchester last night, Prince William (pictured) made a short speech to thank volunteers for all that they have done for their communities. Pictured, with the Duchess of Cambridge
Kate and Prince William (pictured) met with representatives from two charities who receive food from FareShare Greater Manchester and heard about the impact it had on the vulnerable families that they support
The royal couple heard from staff and volunteers about how FareShare Greater Manchester has adapted its operations to ensure it could continue supporting those in need throughout the coronavirus pandemic. Pictured, visiting a food bank in Manchester
During their visit, the Duke and Duchess – who changed into a patterned jumper – met representatives from the food industry to learn more about their generous support for FareShare.
They then heard from staff and volunteers about how FareShare Greater Manchester has adapted its operations to ensure it could continue supporting those in need throughout the coronavirus pandemic.
They also met representatives from two charities who receive food from FareShare Greater Manchester and heard about the impact it had on the vulnerable families that they support.
Later, the Duke made a short speech to thank volunteers for all that they have done for their communities, which will be broadcast live to additional FareShare’s members and organisations across the country via video call.
During the visits, there was also a special performance by Wayne Ellington and Manchester Inspirational Voices, presented by Band on the Wall, a local independent music venue which has been supported during COVID-19 by the Government’s Culture Recovery Fund.
Following a day of engagements, the official Kensington Royal Instagram account shared a picture of the royals alongside a caption which read: ‘Where to next?’
The whirlwind trip has been organised so the couple can thank frontline workers, volunteers, care home staff, teachers, schoolchildren and young people and hear about their experiences and sacrifices, as well as the inspirational work they have done throughout this life-changing year.
A source said: ‘Their Royal Highnesses want to pass on the nation’s sincere thanks and gratitude for all of their efforts to keep people safe and keep the country going.’
Their Royal Highnesses are travelling on the Royal Train (pictured) between Sunday and Tuesday, making stops in England, Scotland and Wales in line with government guidance
It is believed the trip is Kate’s first official journey by royal train, despite having been a member of the monarchy for almost a decade, while the duke has used it a number of times.
Details of the engagements have been kept secret until the couple’s arrival so as not to encourage crowds.
Ahead of their trip, 10-year-old British artist, Joe Whale – known as The Doodle Boy, created an illustration to bring the journey to life.
Many of the engagements undertaken by the Cambridges will celebrate community spirit and demonstrate the impact of the public’s generosity this year, by showcasing organisations and initiatives that have been supported by community relief funds, including NHS Charities Together.
Their Royal Highnesses’ visit are also set to showcase the UK’s arts, heritage and live performance sector, which has been supported throughout the pandemic by the Government’s £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund.
There will be a number of festive performances by local artists, celebrating the inspiring work of the organisations and projects the Duke and Duchess are visiting.
Queen Victoria was the first reigning British sovereign to use the Royal Train, in June 1842.
The journey was from Slough (at that time the closest train station to Windsor Castle) to London Paddington.