The royal family have wished Scots around the globe a happy Burns Night with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s charity sending NHS workers a traditional Scottish treat.
Staff from a Dundee hospital enjoyed a celebration lunch of haggis, neeps and tatties thanks to NHS Charities Together, which William and Kate support as patrons, and Tayside Health Fund.
The Prince of Wales toasted those north of the border in a video message after reciting some of the words to Robert Burns’s famous song Auld Lang Syne.
And the Queen’s official Twitter account wished its Scottish followers a Happy Burns night – the annual celebration held on the national poet of Scotland’s birthday, January 25 – and posted lines from his poem My Heart’s In The Highlands.
Kate wore a tartan dress as she joined William in recording a video message praising the work of NHS Tayside, which saw 200 of its staff treating coronavirus patients at Ninewells Hospital in Dundee served the traditional Scottish meal.
In their video message, William said: “Hello to everyone at NHS Tayside. We know Burns Night is a special evening for Scots around the world – a time to come together to eat, drink and to celebrate the life and work of Robert Burns.”
Kate, who also wore her Emilia Wickstead tartan dress in 2019 to the Queen’s Buckingham Palace Christmas lunch for the extended royal family, added: ”Sadly this year is a little different.
“With Auld Lang Syne, he gave us words which have become a symbol of fellowship the world over – and never has that sense of connection been more important than now.”
— The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall (@ClarenceHouse) January 25, 2021
“And for many of you working on the frontline, tonight will be a very different occasion, as you work tirelessly through this pandemic to protect the most vulnerable in our society.”
In the message, played over lunchtime to a multi-disciplinary Covid-19 response team who work in the dedicated Covid-19 Intensive Care and High Dependency Units at Ninewells Hospital, William, 38, told staff: “We want to say a huge thank you for all of the work you are doing and the sacrifices you are making.
“As a token of our appreciation, we’ve teamed up with NHS Charities Together to provide you with a Haggis dinner.”
Kate, 39, said: “We hope you enjoy it, and look forward to better times together soon,” and the couple wished good health to the staff, saying: “Slainte Mhath!”
“Wherever I wander, wherever I rove, The hills of the Highlands for ever I love.” – Robert Burns, 1789.
Wishing all our Scottish followers a happy #BurnsNight.
🏴Balmoral Castle, The Queen’s home in the Highlands, and the River Dee are pictured on a recent Winter’s day. pic.twitter.com/IvkjORQxMg
— The Royal Family (@RoyalFamily) January 25, 2021
Aides declined to say whether William and Kate normally celebrated Burns Night but Scotland holds a special place in their hearts.
The couple, who are known as the Earl and Countess of Strathearn north of the border, met at the University of St Andrews and are regular visitors to the Queen’s Balmoral estate in the Highlands.
The Cambridge’s gesture comes after William and Kate’s royal train trip to Scotland before Christmas, to thank key and frontline workers, provoked veiled criticism from the Scottish Government about its timing while Covid cases were still prevalent and many parts of the UK were subject to strict Covid rules.
Two royal warrant holders, Edinburgh-based food and wine emporium Valvona and Crolla, and the Fisher and Donaldson bakery in Cupar, Fife, donated Burns biscuits and gift boxes to hospital staff at the request of Kensington Palace.