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Kate Middleton and Prince William wait on the platform to board the royal train


They sat on a bench on a cool evening and looked at the departure board. They looked like any other couple waiting to get out of the cold and get on the train.

But the two who waited on the platform at Batley Station last night were no ordinary passengers and were in fact the future King and Queen in the midst of a three-day tour of Britain, hoping to bring much-needed Christmas cheers to the communities.

Kate Middleton and Prince William, both 38, embarked on a journey across the UK on the royal train yesterday, arriving in Edinburgh that morning when bagpipes sang to them in Christmas carols before meeting with workers at a Scottish Ambulance turnstile.

The royal couple personally pay tribute to the people and organizations that have done everything in response to the Covid crisis.

The Earl and Countess of Strathearn, as they are called during official engagements in Scotland, arrived at Edinburgh Waverley after spending the night on the Royal Train.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, both 38 years old, received a festive cheer on their royal train journey through the country when they met enthusiastic youngsters at the First School of Holy Trinity Church, England in Berwick-upon-Tweed

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, both 38 years old, received a festive cheer on their royal train journey through the country when they met enthusiastic youngsters at the First School of Holy Trinity Church, England in Berwick-upon-Tweed

Prince William joined Kate Middleton when she met the lonely, cancer-stricken 85-year-old who is full-time caring for his wife with dementia and whom she made two long calls to during the pandemic. Pictured together

Prince William joined Kate Middleton when she met the lonely, cancer-stricken 85-year-old who is full-time caring for his wife with dementia and whom she made two long calls to during the pandemic. Pictured together

Len explained how he and the Duchess of Cambridge talked about work, families, and the countries he has traveled to. Pictured with Kate Middleton

Len explained how he and the Duchess of Cambridge talked about work, families, and the countries he has traveled to. Pictured with Kate Middleton

Among the participants waiting to greet them was the Lord Provost of Edinburgh's official whistler, Louise Marshall, who guided the royal couple through the hall and played a mixture of Christmas hits on the pipes.

The royal couple's first commitment to the Whistle Stop tour of Great Britain was to employ staff in one of the nerve centers of the Scottish Ambulance Service in Newbridge near Edinburgh.

William, dressed in a dark blue coat and tartan scarf, and Kate, wearing a blue Catherine Walker coat and bag by Scottish designer Strathberry, thanked the staff for their incredible efforts in handling their demanding jobs, while many of the personal covid Tragedies were affected.

They chatted with staff and heard in-depth reports on how many of them were personally affected during the crisis while continuing to provide vital primary insurance coverage across the country.

During their visit, it was announced that the royal couple will become joint sponsors of NHS Charities Together, the charity that has worked tirelessly to provide essential PPE equipment to hospitals and rescue workers.

The SAS received funding from NHS Charities Together, a group of 240 NHS charities, that was given to indoor and outdoor staff wellbeing and wellness packs that included informational brochures and reusable water bottles.

Prince William spoke at length with some paramedics about how the additional stresses from the Covid threat had affected their mental wellbeing.

The Royals met students from the First School of Holy Trinity Church in England in Berwick-upon-Tweed (pictured)

The Royals met students from the First School of Holy Trinity Church in England in Berwick-upon-Tweed (pictured)

The Duke of Cambridge (pictured) looked in a good mood as he left the First School of the Holy Trinity Church of England on the second day of a three-day tour of the country

The Duke of Cambridge (pictured) looked in a good mood as he left the First School of the Holy Trinity Church of England on the second day of a three-day tour of the country

The Duchess of Cambridge looked in a good mood as she left the first school of the Holy Trinity Church of England in Berwick upon Tweed after spreading the joy of Christmas

The Duchess of Cambridge looked in a good mood as she left the first school of the Holy Trinity Church of England in Berwick upon Tweed after spreading the joy of Christmas

He and Kate also heard from medic Alistair Matson, 54, who had to deal with his father becoming ill and later dying in the hospital during the pandemic. Mr. Matson said: “It was very emotional talking to the prince about the loss of my father.

“He was very excited to hear how we managed to cope with the mental stresses of our work.

“The great sense of camaraderie in my work helped me a lot. There was never a rush to come back and they were like another family to me.

"It was really encouraging to see the royal couple here today acknowledge what we are doing and their thanks means a lot to us."

His colleague John Kane, 59, told the royal couple how he was in a coma at the Western General Hospital in Edinburgh for three weeks after contracting the virus.

“I had to be put on a ventilator and placed in an induced coma for three weeks.

& # 39; It was a terrible time and recovery was slow, but SAS helped out here too. The prince was particularly interested in how we manage the psychological wellbeing of our own employees. & # 39;

During their visit, it was also revealed that the couple had sent a special bouquet of flowers to the family of a seasoned paramedic who died last month after reporting back in April four years after retiring.

Falkirk's Rod Moore died aged 63 after contracting coronavirus. His funeral was to take place during the royal visit.

A SAS spokesman said: “I know Rod's family valued the flowers that were sent on behalf of the royal family. It was a nice gesture. & # 39;

The couple especially thanked the department's cleaning staff and told 65-year-old cleaner Ellen Reeder that she was "one of the most important people in the entire organization, holding everything together."

Then Ms. Reeder, 65, said: “It was a great honor for me to meet you. They kept it a secret until this morning which is just as good or I would have been speechless if I talked to them.

& # 39; That really made my day. In fact, I think it's been here every day to get that appreciation from the royals. I am a huge fan. & # 39;

The Duke of Cambridge leaves Holy Trinity Church's first school in Berwick upon Tweed on the second day of a three-day tour of the country

The Duke of Cambridge leaves Holy Trinity Church's first school in Berwick upon Tweed on the second day of a three-day tour of the country

The Duchess of Cambridge is meeting with students from the First School of Holy Trinity Church in England in Berwick-upon-Tweed as part of their working visits to the UK before the Christmas holidays to pay tribute to the work of individuals and organizations across the country over the coronavirus pandemic

The Duchess of Cambridge is meeting with students from the First School of Holy Trinity Church in England in Berwick-upon-Tweed as part of their working visits to the UK before the Christmas holidays to pay tribute to the work of individuals and organizations across the country over the coronavirus pandemic

Kate Middleton wears protective face covering to help fight the spread of the coronavirus. She waves as she meets volunteers who supported elderly members of their local community during the COVID-19 pandemic at the Batley Community Center in the north of England

Kate Middleton wears protective face covering to help fight the spread of the coronavirus. She waves as she meets volunteers who supported elderly members of their local community during the COVID-19 pandemic at the Batley Community Center in the north of England

At lunchtime there was a funny twist at Holy Trinity First School in Berwick-upon-Tweed, where as a reward for the kids, Kensington Palace arranged for Rent a Reindeer to bring three animals – Chaz, Crackers and their six-month-old Calf Echols – to school.

Kate and William also thanked the teachers for their efforts to support learning over the past few months.

Local saxophone group The Earl Gray Saxes played Christmas music, including Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, as the school's 175 students waved and sang as the royal couple arrived.

Some wore antlers on their heads, others wore Christmas hats for the visit.

William and Kate were cleaning their hands when they entered the school grounds, a short drive from Berwick Train Station.

After the visit, Headmaster Nicholas Shaw said, “It was amazing and the kids loved it.

“We are honored to have been selected and appreciate that they take the time to reflect on teachers and work in schools.

& # 39; It was a challenge during the lockdown, lots of new skills were learned. We were consistently open to the children of key workers and vulnerable children. & # 39;

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge met Len Gardner at the Batley Community Center in West Yorkshire

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge met Len Gardner at the Batley Community Center in West Yorkshire

William and Kate's third stop was the Batley Community Center in West Yorkshire. The Duchess had swapped her blue coat from Catherine Walker for a dark blue one, while upon arrival William swapped his tartan scarf for an olive green one

William and Kate's third stop was the Batley Community Center in West Yorkshire. The Duchess had swapped her blue coat from Catherine Walker for a dark blue one, while upon arrival William swapped his tartan scarf for an olive green one

Rent a reindeer owner George Richardson brought Chaz, Crackers and Echols over to visit and told William and Kate how they look after them and how the coronavirus has affected his business.

Mr. Richardson, who is a resident of Cold Hesledon, County Durham, said the palace's booking was "top secret".

He said, “We got a call out of the blue two weeks ago. They asked us to bring a reindeer for the royal visit and we were happy to do so.

“We brought these three as a group, even though Chaz is not the father … he's the uncle. Mom and baby go with him and they are a nice group.

"This was Baby's first outing and she accepted it."

William and Kate's third stop was the Batley Community Center in West Yorkshire.

The Duchess had swapped her blue coat from Catherine Walker for a dark blue one, while upon arrival William swapped his tartan scarf for an olive green one.

The couple met with volunteers from the center who helped senior community members through the pandemic by mailing cards, making regular phone calls, and dropping off purchases, grocery bags and activity packs.

During their first visit to their Royal Train Tour of the country, it was announced that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are joint sponsors of NHS charities

During their first visit to their Royal Train Tour of the country, it was announced that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are joint sponsors of NHS charities

After traveling overnight from London Euston, the Duke was the first to get out of the Royal Claret-colored car, followed by Kate in a Liberty-print face with a matching blue coat

William and Kate also met Len Gardner, a local resident the Duchess spoke to on the phone after secretly volunteering through the NHS Volunteer Responder's check-in and chat program.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's final stop was FareShare in Manchester, where Her Royal Highnesses pay tribute to volunteers and organizations across the UK that have assisted vulnerable families throughout 2020.

FareShare distributes surplus grocery business to 11,000 charities and community groups in all four UK countries – including school breakfast clubs, community centers, homeless shelters and food banks.

During the initial national lockdown, the number of families relying on FareShare Greater Manchester for food doubled almost overnight, and at the same time the charity was inundated with people volunteering for them.

During their visit, the Duke and Duchess, transforming into a patterned sweater, met with food industry representatives to learn more about their generous support for FareShare.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's final stop was FareShare in Manchester, where Her Royal Highnesses pay tribute to volunteers and organizations across the UK that have assisted vulnerable families throughout 2020

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's final stop was FareShare in Manchester, where Her Royal Highnesses pay tribute to volunteers and organizations across the UK that have assisted vulnerable families throughout 2020

The Duchess of Cambridge put on a face mask when she arrived on the Royal Train at Manchester Victoria Station in Manchester

The Duchess of Cambridge put on a face mask when she arrived on the Royal Train at Manchester Victoria Station in Manchester

During the tour, the royal couple will visit communities, eminent figures, and key workers to thank them for their efforts during the coronavirus pandemic (pictured)

During the tour, the royal couple will visit communities, eminent figures, and key workers to thank them for their efforts during the coronavirus pandemic (pictured)

They then heard from staff and volunteers how FareShare Greater Manchester has been adjusting its operations to ensure that support can continue to be provided to those in need throughout the coronavirus pandemic.

They also met representatives from two charities that receive food from FareShare Greater Manchester and learned about the impact they have on the vulnerable families they support.

The Duke also gave a short speech to thank the volunteers for all that they have done for their communities. This will be broadcast live via video call to other FareShare members and organizations across the country.

There was also a special performance by Wayne Ellington and Manchester Inspirational Voices during the visits, presented by Band on the Wall, a local independent music venue supported by the government's Culture Recovery Fund during COVID-19.

During their visit, the Duke and Duchess, transforming into a patterned sweater, met with food industry representatives to learn more about their generous support for FareShare

During their visit, the Duke and Duchess, transforming into a patterned sweater, met with food industry representatives to learn more about their generous support for FareShare

The royal couple's arrival in Manchester marked the couple's final engagement of the day (pictured together).

The royal couple's arrival in Manchester marked the couple's final engagement of the day (pictured together).

While visiting FareShare, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (pictured) met representatives from two charities that receive food from FareShare Greater Manchester and learned about the impact they have on the vulnerable families they support

While visiting FareShare, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (pictured) met representatives from two charities that receive food from FareShare Greater Manchester and learned about the impact they have on the vulnerable families they support

The official Kensington Royal Instagram account shared a picture of the royals along with a headline that read, "Where to next?"

The official Kensington Royal Instagram account shared a picture of the royals along with a headline that read, "Where to next?"

The Duke (pictured) gave a short speech to thank the volunteers for all they have done for their communities. Pictured with the Duchess of Cambridge

The Duke (pictured) gave a short speech to thank the volunteers for all they have done for their communities. Pictured with the Duchess of Cambridge

Kate and Prince William (pictured) met representatives from two charities that receive food from FareShare Greater Manchester and learned about the impact they have on the vulnerable families they support

Kate and Prince William (pictured) met representatives from two charities that receive food from FareShare Greater Manchester and learned about the impact they have on the vulnerable families they support

The royal couple heard from staff and volunteers how FareShare Greater Manchester adjusted its operations to ensure it could continue to serve those in need throughout the coronavirus pandemic. Pictured while visiting a grocery bank in Manchester

The royal couple heard from staff and volunteers how FareShare Greater Manchester adjusted its operations to ensure it could continue to serve those in need throughout the coronavirus pandemic. Pictured while visiting a grocery bank in Manchester

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (pictured) visit a grocery bank at Old Smithfield Market on the second day of a three-day tour of the country

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (pictured) visit a grocery bank at Old Smithfield Market on the second day of a three-day tour of the country

After a day of engagements, Kensington Royal's official Instagram account shared a picture of the royals with the caption, "Where to next?"

William and Kate left Euston Station aboard the Royal Train last night to visit the first of nine stops on their 48-hour cyclone tour of England, Scotland and Wales.

Before leaving London, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge wrote a personal thank you message for the transport workers on an information board on the London Underground.

The message read: “Thank you to all the transport workers everywhere who have kept the country moving during this difficult year. I wish you all a Merry Christmas! Catherine. Wilhelm & # 39;

It was a royal awakening like no other, and there was even a special performance by 80s pop star Shakin & # 39; Stevens performing his perennial festive favorite "Merry Christmas Everyone" for transport workers at the train station.

During her appearance in Edinburgh tonight, the Queen nodded touchingly to her late mother-in-law Princess Diana while wearing a set of earrings from her jewelry box

During her appearance in Edinburgh tonight, the Queen nodded touchingly to her late mother-in-law Princess Diana while wearing a set of earrings from her jewelry box

Kate recycled a teal Catherine Walker coat that was first worn during a tour of Norway in 2018 when she made the first stop on their Christmas Express tour in Edinburgh with Prince William today

Kate recycled a teal Catherine Walker coat that was first worn during a tour of Norway in 2018 when she made the first stop on their Christmas Express tour in Edinburgh with Prince William today

The Duke and Duchess received a rock & # 39; n & # 39; roll farewell Sunday when Shakin & # 39; Stevens serenaded them before boarding the royal train.

Known for a number of hits in the 1980s, the singer sang his festive single Merry Christmas Everyone for the couple and a group of transport workers.

The title topped the charts for 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 she waved to passengers from a balcony.

Stevens, 72, said he was "overjoyed" to play for the Duke and Duchess, revealing that it was the first time in his long career that he had played for kings.

"I love it, it was nice to be invited," he said. “And they chose the song. Over the moon. & # 39;

Stevens said the Cambridges were "sure to be fans" of his festive hit, adding, "You picked it!"

Before boarding the royal train, the couple took time to meet transport workers at the station and learn about their experiences of working during the pandemic.

William told Orson Parris, a network traffic manager for Transport for London, "Cross your fingers, things will be back to normal in 2021."

And the Duke said to Alero Abbey, TfL Area Manager for Green Park and Euston, “It's moments like these when people really appreciate what you do every day. Suddenly we all know what you are doing and that you are doing a really good job. & # 39;

Network Rail staff changed the departure boards for the occasion, moving Wolverhampton to Warmerhampton, Coventry to Coventry Carol and Northampton to Northpolehamton.

William and Kate wanted to personally thank Transport for London, Network Rail and Railway Companies for everything they did to keep the capital running during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The trip has been organized so that the couple can thank frontline workers, volunteers, nursing home staff, teachers, school children and young people and hear about their experiences and sacrifices, as well as the inspiring work they have done in this life changing year.

A source said, "Your Royal Highnesses would like to convey the sincere thanks and gratitude of the nation for all of your efforts to keep the security of the people and the country going."

Kensington Palace has this picture of the couple on their Instagram account with the hashtag & # 39; Royal Train Tour & # 39; posted.

Kensington Palace has this picture of the couple on their Instagram account with the hashtag & # 39; Royal Train Tour & # 39; posted.

The couple took off their masks as they left Berwick-upon-Tweed station

The couple took off their masks as they left Berwick-upon-Tweed station

Her Royal Highnesses travel on the Royal Train (pictured) between Sunday and Tuesday, stopping in England, Scotland and Wales as directed by the government

Her Royal Highnesses travel on the Royal Train (pictured) between Sunday and Tuesday, stopping in England, Scotland and Wales as directed by the government

The trip is believed to be Kate's first official trip on the royal train, despite having been a member of the monarchy for nearly a decade, while the Duke used it several times.

Details of the engagements were kept secret until the couple's arrival so as not to encourage the crowd.

Over the next few days, William and Kate will travel 1,250 miles and make work visits to meet NHS staff, volunteers, nursing home workers, teachers, school children and young people to learn about their experiences, sacrifices and the work they have done during this challenge have made years.

The couple will also share the nation's sincere thanks and gratitude for all of their efforts to protect the people and keep the country going.

Before their trip, 10-year-old British artist Joe Whale – known as The Doodle Boy – created an illustration to bring the trip to life.

Much of the commitments the Cambridges are making will celebrate the community spirit and demonstrate the power of public generosity this year by showcasing organizations and initiatives supported by community relief funds, including NHS Charities Together.

Her Royal Highnesses visits will also introduce the UK arts, culture and live performance sectors, which have been supported by the government's £ 1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund throughout the pandemic.

During the three days there will be a series of festive performances by local artists celebrating the inspiring work of the organizations and projects the Duke and Duchess visit.

Queen Victoria was the first reigning British ruler to use the Royal Train in June 1842.

The journey led from Slough (then the closest train station to Windsor Castle) to London Paddington.

Network Rail staff changed the departure boards for the occasion, moving Wolverhampton to Warmerhampton, Coventry to Coventry Carol and Northampton to Northpolehamton

Network Rail staff changed the departure boards for the occasion, moving Wolverhampton to Warmerhampton, Coventry to Coventry Carol and Northampton to Northpolehamton

Permission to travel by train with nine carriages has to be given personally by the Queen, and she is said to lag far behind the “wonderful” idea of ​​her grandson and daughter-in-law

Permission to travel by train with nine carriages has to be given personally by the Queen, and she is said to lag far behind the “wonderful” idea of ​​her grandson and daughter-in-law

One of the highlights of the trip will be the couple's arrival at each stop on the Queen's signature burgundy Royal Train

One of the highlights of the trip will be the couple's arrival at each stop on the Queen's signature burgundy Royal Train

In the year of the Queen's Silver Jubilee, a single set of & # 39; Royal Train & # 39; cars was formed for the first time and has been in service since then.

The locomotives that power the train can reach speeds of up to 200 km / h, but are limited to 100 km / h in royal service.

The Royal Train was only used five times in 2018 and cost an average of £ 22,000 a time.

The Queen, 94, used it only twice in 2018 to Chester with Meghan Markle, 39, for £ 29,714 and again in March 2019 when she visited the west of England and returned to Windsor, which cost the public sector £ 21,230.

Prince Charles, 72, the only other high-ranking king to have been allowed to use the Royal Train so far, made three trips on it.

A Kensington Palace spokesperson said: “The Duke and Duchess look forward to highlighting the incredible work that has been done across the country in this difficult year and to thanking them on behalf of the nation for all who do them support their local communities before the Christmas holidays. & # 39;

Everything on board the Kate and Wills Express! What it's like to travel on the "Palace on Wheels" with sole fillets and crème caramel – and VERY fast drivers

Mile after mile, it is the royals' most expensive means of transport. According to reports in September, only three trips were made in 2019-20. Queen Elizabeth is pictured aboard the train in 1964, Prince Edward on her lap and Prince Andrew opposite

Mile after mile, it is the royals' most expensive means of transport. According to reports in September, only three trips were made in 2019-20. Queen Elizabeth is pictured aboard the train in 1964, Prince Edward on her lap and Prince Andrew opposite

By Emily Andrews Royal Editor for the Mail on Sunday

Traveling on the Royal Train is considered a significant honor for the Queen.

Permission to travel on the train with nine carriages must be given by the Queen. She is the main passenger of the train and uses it to travel overnight to engagements in the north of England, Scotland or Wales.

The idea dates back to 1842. Prince Albert persuaded a 23-year-old Queen Victoria to be the first royal to travel by rail when she caught a train from Slough, the closest station to Windsor Castle, to London Paddington.

Victoria saw it as her duty to travel the country, and so a royal train was designed to look like a palace on wheels. The carriages were decorated with 23 carat gold paint and adorned with silk and satin.

In the 1890s, electric lights were added and an on-board toilet that Victoria did not want to use. She preferred to stop the train for bathroom breaks every few hours.

In 1977, the year of the Queen's Silver Jubilee, a single set of Royal Train wagons was formed for the first time and has been in service since then and was used by George VI in 1941 Used vehicles replaced.

The locomotives carry freight when they are not in royal service. William and Kate will sleep in twin beds for their two nights on board and dine in a 12-seater dinner with a Formica table – far from the grandeur of the Victorian era.

In the past, the Royal Train menu included chilled mint pea soup, sole fillets, and creme caramel.

There are no showers in the suite, just a bathroom with a marker line to keep it from getting overcrowded. The staff includes a steward and lackeys, while Kate's hairdresser will also travel on this trip.

When the wagons are out of service for most of the year, the train is kept on a siding in a secret location for security reasons.

Mile after mile, it is the royals' most expensive means of transport. According to reports in September, only three trips were made in 2019-20.

Two of these were for Prince Charles, who had issued an invoice for £ 20,822 for a return trip from Kemble to Carlisle near his home in Gloucestershire. At the time, a palace assistant said the train provided effective and efficient transportation and reduced security costs.

It was once suggested that Charles had secluded the then Lady Diana Spencer on board for a late night tryst on sidings in Wiltshire. The story was wrong and Diana said, "I've never been near the train, let alone in the middle of the night!"

The most prestigious job on the British Railways is that of the Royal Driver. Her job is to keep the train door perfectly in line with the red carpet on the platform. The drivers also pride themselves on getting to any destination within 15 seconds of the stated arrival time.

When Her Majesty Meghan Markle invited her on an overnight trip less than a month after her marriage to Prince Harry, it was one way to publicly welcome her to the royal family.

While the train is primarily used as a means of transportation, there is also room to catch up on work, as Queen Elizabeth demonstrated above during a trip in 2002

While the train is primarily used as a means of transportation, there is also room to catch up on work, as Queen Elizabeth demonstrated above during a trip in 2002

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