William and Kate bring Christmas cheer to Scotland as they thank frontline staff

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge brought Christmas cheer to Scotland when they thanked frontline staff for persevering during the pandemic – but appeared to receive a frosty response from the nation’s First Minister.

William and Kate met ambulance staff in Newbridge, near Edinburgh, during the first engagement of their 1,250-mile morale-boosting festive trip on the royal train.

And later, just across the border at Holy Trinity First School in Berwick-upon-Tweed, Northumberland, the couple arranged for a special treat for pupils – a visit from three reindeer, Chaz, Crackers and her six-month-old calf Echols.

But during her daily coronavirus briefing, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon was asked about claims the duke and duchess’s visit to Edinburgh was in breach of cross-border travel restrictions.

Ms Sturgeon said the trip was a matter for the royal household and they had been made aware of all the restrictions in place.

“The royal visit is a matter for the royal household and the arrangements around it, and any questions about those arrangements, should be directed to the royal household,” she said.

“The Scottish Government was advised about the intention to visit, and we made sure that the royal household were aware, as you would expect, of all of the restrictions in place in Scotland, so that could inform both the decision and the planning of the visit.

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

“But I think any questions about that should be directed to the royal household.”

She was also asked whether the trip would help boost morale, but made no reference to this question in her response.

Under current Scottish regulations, it is illegal to travel between England and Scotland unless you have a reasonable excuse.

There are exceptions, including travel for work or to provide voluntary or charitable services, but only when this cannot be done from home.