Duke and Duchess of Cambridge head off for royal train tour of Britain

Duke and Duchess of Cambridge head off for royal train tour of Britain

December 6, 2020

It’s whistlestop William and Kate! Duke and Duchess of Cambridge head off for royal train tour around Britain to thank people who went above and beyond during coronavirus pandemic… and they were serenaded on their way by Shakin’ Stevens

  • Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have embarked on three day royal train tour
  • William and Kate are travelling Britain to pay tribute to frontline workers
  • They departed Euston Station after Shakin’ Stevens performance for rail workers
  • Tour will end with a rare photocall with Queen, Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will meet the Queen for a heart-warming family engagement at the end of a nationwide ‘Christmas Express’ tour on the royal train, starting today.

The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall will also be present at Tuesday’s event, offering a show of unity from senior members of the Royal Family for people and organisations across the country who have gone ‘above and beyond’ in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

William and Kate left Euston Station on board the Royal Train tonight for the first of nine stops on their whirlwind 48 hour, 1,250-mile tour across England, Scotland and Wales first thing in the morning.

It was a royal departure like no other and even featured a special performance from 80s pop star Shakin’ Stevens who performed his perennial festive favourite, ‘Merry Christmas Everyone’ for transport workers at the station.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will meet the Queen for a heart-warming family engagement at the end of a nationwide ‘Christmas Express’ tour on the royal train, starting today

William and Kate left Euston Station on board the Royal Train (pictured) tonight for the first of nine stops on their whirlwind 48 hour, 1,250-mile tour across England, Scotland and Wales first thing in the morning

William and Kate left Euston Station on board the Royal Train last night for the first of nine stops on their whirlwind 48 hour, 1,250-mile tour across England, Scotland and Wales first thing in the morning

The trip has been organised so the couple can thank frontline workers, volunteers, care home staff, teachers, schoolchildren and young people and hear about their experiences and sacrifices. Kate was seen wearing an Alexander McQueen coat and a tartan scarf.

Before they departed, the couple took time out to meet transport workers at the station to hear about their experiences of working throughout the pandemic.

William and Kate were keen to personally pass on their thanks to Transport for London, Network Rail and train operating companies for everything they have done to keep the capital running throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

The trip has been organised so the couple can thank frontline workers, volunteers, care home staff, teachers, schoolchildren and young people and hear about their experiences and sacrifices, as well as the inspirational work they have done throughout this life-changing year.

A source said: ‘Their Royal Highnesses want to pass on the nation’s sincere thanks and gratitude for all of their efforts to keep people safe and keep the country going.’

Details of the engagements will be kept secret until the couple’s arrival so as not to encourage crowds.

But a series of ‘fun’ surprises have been organised at each of the couple’s stops as they celebrate community spirit and demonstrate the impact of the public’s generosity this year, by showcasing organisations and initiatives that have been supported by community relief funds, including NHS Charities Together.

 The mini tour will end with the William and Kate meeting with the Queen, Charles and Camilla for a rare photo call together. The retired Prince Philip, 99, will not be present

Before they departed, the couple took time out to meet transport workers at the station to hear about their experiences of working throughout the pandemic

Permission to travel on the nine-carriage train has to be given by the Queen personally, and she is said to be very much behind her grandson and granddaughter-in-law’s ‘wonderful’ idea

The couple also plan to showcase the UK’s arts, heritage and live performance sector, which have been decimated by Covid and the resulting lockdowns.

There will be a number of festive performances across the three days by local artists, and visits to highlight the work done by the Government’s £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund.

The mini tour will end with the William and Kate meeting with the Queen, Charles and Camilla for a rare photo call together. The retired Prince Philip, 99, will not be present.

One of the highlights of the trip will be the couple’s arrival at each stop on the Queen’s distinctive burgundy-liveried Royal Train.

Queen Victoria was the first reigning British sovereign to use the Royal Train, in June 1842.

The journey was from Slough – at that time the closest train station to Windsor Castle – to London, Paddington.

One of the highlights of the trip will be the couple’s arrival at each stop on the Queen’s distinctive burgundy-liveried Royal Train

Although the train looks grand from the outside, its carriage are far more spartan than anyone could imagine

Royal guests have to make do with small single beds. There are no showers – instead there are rather dated-looking 70s-style baths with a marker line to stop them being over-filled

There is, however, a 12-steamer supper car with a Formica table

Queen Victoria was the first reigning British sovereign to use the Royal Train, in June 1842. The journey was from Slough – at that time the closest train station to Windsor Castle – to London, Paddington

In 1977, the year of the present’s Queen’s Silver Jubilee, a single set of ‘Royal Train’ carriages was formed for the first time and has remained in service ever since.

The locomotives that power the train are capable of speeds up to 125mph, but when they are on Royal duty are restricted to 100mph.

Permission to travel on the nine-carriage train has to be given by the Queen personally, and she is said to be very much behind her grandson and granddaughter-in-law’s ‘wonderful’ idea.

Although the train looks grand from the outside, its carriage are far more spartan than anyone could imagine.

Royal guests have to make do with small single beds. There are no showers – instead there are rather dated-looking 70s-style baths with a marker line to stop them being over-filled.

There is, however, a 12-steamer supper car with a Formica table.

And it does allow the couple to travel overnight between stops, visiting as many towns and cities as possible.

A Kensington Palace said: ‘The Duke and Duchess are very much looking forward to shining a spotlight on the incredible work that has been done across the country throughout this difficult year and to sharing their gratitude on behalf of the nation for all those supporting their local communities ahead of the Christmas holidays.’ 

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