William and Kate arrive in Edinburgh for first stop on royal train tour

PA

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have made the first stop on their festive morale-boosting tour of the country by royal train.

William and Kate pulled into Edinburgh Waverley station to the sounds of a piper playing Christmas songs including Jingle Bells and Santa Claus Is Coming To Town.

The duke was the first to step out of the Royal Claret-coloured carriages, adjusting his face mask as he did so, followed by Kate.

The duchess, in a Liberty print face covering, was dressed in a smart blue coat and black gloves, while William was wearing a navy coat and a tartan scarf.

They were welcomed to the city on the platform and chatted briefly, before thanking the piper and leaving the station to make their way to their first engagement.

The couple travelled overnight after setting off on Sunday evening from London’s Euston station on the 1,250-mile, three-day tour, which will see them thank communities, outstanding individuals and key workers for their efforts during the coronavirus pandemic.

Ahead of departure, they left a personal message of thanks for transport workers on a London Underground service information board.

Kensington Palace shared images of the notice at Euston and of Kate writing the words and William signing it.

Their 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”

The duke and duchess received a rock and roll send-off on Sunday when Shakin’ Stevens serenaded them before they boarded the royal train.

Duke and Duchess of Cambridge royal train tour
Duke and Duchess of Cambridge royal train tour

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.

The track topped the charts during Christmas 1985 and was picked by William and Kate as the song they wanted to hear. During the performance the duchess tapped her foot and swayed to the music.

William told Orson Parris, a network traffic controller for Transport for London: “Fingers crossed 2021 gets things back to normal.”

The couple are expected to meet the Queen, Duke of Edinburgh and the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall at their final stop.

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.

The royal train
The royal train

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

During their tour, William and Kate will highlight the impact of extraordinary public generosity during the coronavirus pandemic, showcasing charities such as NHS Together and meeting frontline workers, teachers, mental health professionals, care workers and schoolchildren.

They will also celebrate examples of community spirit by showcasing the arts, heritage and the live performance sector.

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