Throughout the pandemic, Prince William and Kate Middleton continued to carry out their royal duties virtually. The couple showed their support for key workers over Zoom calls, wrote letters to their charities and even enjoyed a game of bingo with pensioners to lift spirits (although the Duke of Cambridge received some brutal feedback from one player).
When restrictions eased, William and Kate resumed their engagements in person.
However, their recent work trip across the UK caused controversy with politicians slamming the royals for travelling when the guidelines permitted only ‘essential’ travel at the time.
The train tour, organised to thank frontline workers across the UK, lasted three days and the couple travelled 1,250 miles visiting Wales and Scotland.
But following a Freedom of Information request, emails obtained by Scottish newspaper The National revealed that the Scottish government contacted the royal household twice to voice their concerns about the ‘major impact’ the trip would have, but royal aides ‘ignored requests to postpone travel’, according to BAZAAR.
John Somers, the principal private secretary to Scotland’s first minister, warned that it would be difficult to carry on with the engagement as ‘at the moment the chances of the tour having to be postponed are potentially quite high.’
Head of cabinet, parliament and governance, James Hynd, also contacted the Palace, informing the Cambridges that the new set of restrictions would ‘likely to have a major impact on the plans you are working on.’
Scottish politician Deidre Brock told the paper that the royal family should have ‘enough empathy to respect what people are going through rather than looking for publicity.’
In an article for BAZAAR, journalist and royal correspondent Omid Scobie reports that Kensington Palace released a statement regarding the Cambridges trip.
A spokesperson told the publication: ‘The same guidance we gave last month [before the tour] still stands.
‘The Duke and Duchess were travelling for work purposes and all rules were fully adhered to. The trip was planned in consultation with the U.K., Scottish and Welsh governments.’