THE Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will tour a whisky distillery on a visit to Scotland today.
William and Kate will be given the chance to bottle their own Glenturret malt at the country’s oldest distillery, near Crieff in Perthshire.
It is the couple’s first joint engagement since returning from a tour of Australia and New Zealand last month.
During that trip Kate appeared to quash any speculation she may be expecting a second child when she told wine-makers how she was enjoying being able to drink again after giving birth to son George.
Today, she and William will be offered something stronger in the form of Scotland’s national drink.
The couple will officially open the new-look Famous Grouse Experience visitor attraction which brings more than 100,000 people to the Glenturret distillery each year.
Established as a single malt distillery in 1775, Glenturret is also blended with other grain and malt whiskies to create The Famous Grouse, one of the world’s top five whiskies.
William and Kate - known as the Earl and Countess of Strathearn in Scotland - will begin their day of engagements in Scotland with a visit to Strathearn Community Campus in Crieff where they will meet young carers, Scouts, Cadets and Brownies.
They will then unveil a plaque in the town’s newly restored MacRosty Park. Last year the grounds were designated a Queen Elizabeth II Field for the enjoyment of the residents of Crieff and the surrounding area.
The distillery tour will follow, then William and Kate will view the local wares on sale at the Forteviot fete and drop into the village chapel.
The last time the couple travelled to Scotland in an official capacity was in April last year, when they accompanied the Prince of Wales to Dumfries House in East Ayrshire for the opening of an outdoor centre.
They also visited Glasgow’s Emirates Arena, a key venue in this summer’s Commonwealth Games, and met young homeless people at the Quarriers Stopover Project on the city’s southside.
The royal couple later continued the food and drink theme by sampling some of Perthshire’s finest local produce at a village fete.
The weather stayed dry for William and Kate’s trip to the gathering in Forteviot.
Kate toured stalls around the fete, trying plenty of local produce from gin to oatcakes and tablet.
Mother and daughter team Fiona Wimpenny and 10-year-old Pepper Young said the Duchess tasted their sweet hand-made Perthshire oatcakes. Ms Wimpenny said Pepper also presented Kate with a home-made friendship bracelet, which she immediately put on.
Another stallholder, Ian Niven, 53, of Gloagburn Farm Shop near Perth, said he spoke to Kate about her mother’s chickens.
“[She said] her mother’s hens had been pinched by the fox,” he said.
David Lang, from Strathearn Distillery, said of the Duchess: “She came over and said ‘Oh, I see you have some gins here. I shouldn’t really try it because I had some whisky at lunchtime, but I’m going to try it’.
“We gave her some heather rose gin, which is our most popular, and she said it was absolutely delicious. I think she’s a fan. What better testament to our gin than her saying that?”
Graham Donaldson had created a picture of the royal couple with their son George made entirely of sweets, which was on display at his confectionery stand.
He said: “It took about 100 hours to make - much longer than we anticipated - but it’s a bit of fun and she wasn’t offended by it, which is the main thing.
“She noticed it straight away when she came to the stall and she liked it and she got some local tablet to try as well. I hope she has a sweet tooth.”
The couple also watched a display of Scottish dancing by local children, and William toured the local chapel, where he was told about the area’s royal history and various archaeological finds in the area.
Before departing, they were presented with a traditional handcrafted kilt for Prince George in the ancient Strathearn tartan, by kiltmaker Marion Foster.