The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge toured the UK ahead of the Christmas holidays to pay tribute to the inspiring work of individuals, organisations and initiatives across the country that have gone above and beyond to support their local communities this year.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge travelled on the Royal Train between Sunday 6th and Tuesday 8th December, making stops in England, Scotland and Wales in line with government guidance.
Over the three days, The Duke and Duchess travelled 1250 miles undertaking working visits, meeting frontline workers, volunteers, care home staff, teachers, schoolchildren and young people to hear about their experiences, sacrifices and the inspiring work they have done throughout this challenging year. Their Royal Highnesses also passed on the nation’s sincere thanks and gratitude for all of their efforts to keep people safe and keep the country going.
Catherine and I felt it was extremely important to visit just some of the heroes that have emerged this year to thank you for all that you have done.
The Duke of Cambridge, speaking at Fareshare in Manchester
Many of the engagements undertaken by Their Royal Highnesses celebrated community spirit and demonstrate the impact of the public’s generosity this year, and showcased organisations and initiatives that have been supported by community relief funds, including NHS Charities Together.
Ahead of The Duke and Duchess’ trip, 10 year old British artist, Joe Whale (@TheDoodleKid.co.uk), created a doodle to bring the journey to life.
Their Royal Highnesses’ visits showcased the UK’s arts, heritage and live performance sector, which has been supported throughout the pandemic by the Government’s £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund. There were a number of festive performances across the three days by local artists, celebrating the inspiring work of the organisations and projects The Duke and Duchess visited.
Ahead of the start of the #RoyalTrainTour, Shakin’ Stevens ‘Merry Christmas Everyone’ echoed around Euston Station in London.
Before departing, The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge met with inspiring transport workers who have gone out of their way to ensure people feel safe and secure throughout this difficult year.
On the first stop on the #RoyalTrainTour - Edinburgh - The Duke and Duchess met paramedics and staff of the Scottish Ambulance Service - as representatives of the NHS - to thank them for their incredible efforts throughout the pandemic, and to acknowledge the toll that the pandemic has taken on the physical and mental wellbeing of emergency responders.
Today it was announced that The Duke and Duchess have become Joint Patrons of NHS Charities Together.
The 240 UK NHS charities provide extra funding and additional services above and beyond NHS core funds, supporting hospitals, community and mental health services and ambulances services.
On their second stop of the day, The Duke and Duchess joined pupils from Holy Trinity Church of England First School in Berwick-Upon-Tweed for a very special school lesson.
The Duke and Duchess visited the school to recognise the invaluable work of teachers, including their efforts to keep schools open for vulnerable children and the children of key workers through the pandemic, and how they provided online learning to pupils at home.
The Duke and Duchess also heard from the school’s teachers about how they have adapted their operations to allow pupils to safely return to school.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's visit to Batley saw a first meeting in person for The Duchess and Len Gardner, who The Duchess has spoken to previously as part of the NHS Volunteer Responder ‘Check in and Chat’ scheme.
The Royal Voluntary Service is one of Britain’s largest volunteering charities and has recruited thousands of NHS Volunteer Responders to support vulnerable people and the NHS during the pandemic by providing grocery and prescription deliveries, lifts to medical appointments and ‘check in and chat’ calls.
At Fareshare in Manchester, The Duke and Duchess paid tribute to volunteers and organisations across the UK who have supported vulnerable families throughout 2020.
You are the people that have not only kept our country going but have also helped warm all our hearts by showing us the very best of human nature.
The Duke of Cambridge
After meeting representatives from the food industry to learn more about their generous support for FareShare, The Duke and Duchess heard from staff and volunteers about how FareShare Greater Manchester has adapted its operations to ensure it could continue supporting those in need throughout the coronavirus pandemic.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge began the final day of their tour at Cardiff Castle where they met university students and heard about some of the challenges they have experienced during the pandemic, with a particular focus on mental health.
Their Royal Highnesses joined students from Cardiff University, Cardiff Metropolitan University and the University of South Wales at ‘Christmas at the Castle’ – a festival of Christmas activities and attractions hosted by the Castle throughout December.
They heard how the students have been supported with their mental health by their universities and student unions during this challenging year, before joining a group as they unwrapped their ‘Secret Santa’ gifts to one another.
During the visit, there was a performance by ‘Samba Galez’, Wales’ longest running Samba Band, who have been supported during the pandemic through the UK Government’s Culture Recovery Fund.
At Cleeve Court Care Home in Bath The Duke and Duchess paid tribute to the efforts of care staff across the country.
At the Care House they heard from staff about their experiences of providing care and helping residents stay connected to their loved ones throughout the pandemic, before meeting some of the residents.
At the Royal Berkshire Hospital The Duke and Duchess thanked nurses for their tireless work during the pandemic.
Among those that The Duke and Duchess met was Lead Nurse Rafael Fernandes, designer of a special badge funded by NHS Charities Together to mark the 2020 Year of the Nurse and Midwife.
The final stop on the #RoyalTrainTour was Windsor Castle, where The Queen and members of the Royal Family thanked local volunteers and key workers.
Members of the Royal Family welcomed a number of local volunteers and key workers from organisations and charities in Berkshire, who will be volunteering or working to help others over the Christmas period.