The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have paid tribute to the late Duke of Edinburgh by arriving for a drive-in cinema date in one of his beloved Land Rovers.
William and Kate joined guests at the unique event at the Palace of Holyroodhouse in a 1966 2A model that belonged to Philip and was loaned by the Queen.
The couple, who are joint Patrons of NHS Charities Together, hosted NHS Staff for the special screening of Disney’s Cruella, in recognition of their vital work throughout the pandemic, after they had visited their old university town of St Andrews.
After parking up alongside NHS workers in the forecourt of the palace and two of the vintage vehicles used in the movie, the couple met some of the guests being recognised for their efforts during the health crisis.
Those attending came from across the NHS workforce in Scotland, having been nominated by NHS Charities Together’s member organisations and their associated health boards.
In a speech Kate thanked the workers and told them: “Over the last year or so, William and I have spoken to many NHS workers and have heard first-hand what it has been like to be on the front line fighting Covid-19; supporting those suffering from the disease as well as their families, and heroically putting the needs of others ahead of their own – day in, day out.
“And tonight, we have so enjoyed speaking to so many of you.
“You have all been chosen for going above and beyond over the last year – and to hear what you have been through is truly humbling.”
The duchess also thanked the Queen for allowing them to host the palace’s first drive-in film and she invited her guests to “grab your popcorn, cuddle up under your blankets and be transported to 1970s Britain for an evening of much-deserved fun, drama, glamour and escapism!”
Cruella, which opens in cinemas across the UK on Friday, tells the backstory of Cruella de Vil, the villain from classic animated movie 101 Dalmatians.
The character’s distinctive black and white vintage Panther de Ville car was parked on the forecourt along with a blue “Pest Control” van.
On Monday night, William and Kate spoke via videocall to its stars, Emma Stone, who plays Cruella and Dame Emma Thompson, who plays her rival Baroness Von Hellman.
Footage from the call appeared ahead of the couple’s arrival and saw the royal couple joking about the duke’s popularity with an elderly lady he met at a care home on Sunday.
William said: “I got propositioned by a 96-year-old lady called Betty yesterday who wanted to kiss me.
“She’s in a care home with her daughter and I said Betty, if I do that, I’m going to get slapped on the back of the head for being inappropriate…social distancing.
“And she said, ‘I’ll have you afterwards then’. She was a right character!
“This is what happens when I’m not around!” laughed Kate.
“I’ve got a window!” joked Emma Stone.
The two Oscar-winning stars talked about making the film in London, with Stone telling the duke and duchess how they were in front of Buckingham Palace at one point and she was riding a motorcycle around The Mall.
William joked: “We should have had you stopped Emma, it’s very dangerous.
“I know, I know,” she replied.
“I really got away with it, on my motorcycle… a car trailing me around Buckingham Palace.”
And, calling the royal couple “darlings”, Dame Emma said of their plan to host health workers: “You’re doing a screening for the NHS, aren’t you?
“I mean the NHS. Oh my goodness.
“What an extraordinary testament really to the creation of the NHS, I mean we’re so lucky to have that.”
Kate, who during the screening wore a coat by Holland Cooper and earrings loaned by the Queen, replied: “Speaking to lots of them, you know during lockdown and various points of this last year, some of them… who had Covid themselves, they then felt bad that they were letting their teammates down and they weren’t there.
“It’s an amazing work ethic and you know they just went above and beyond really and still do obviously.
“That’s why I suppose we wanted to do this, you know, thank them in this way and celebrate some of the work they’re doing.”
NHS Charities Together is the national charity partner of the NHS and is made up of 240 NHS charity members based in hospitals, mental health, ambulance, community health services and health boards across the UK.