Watch as William and Kate arrive in Edinburgh Waverley during royal tour

The Earl and Countess of Strathearn thanked frontline workers from the Scottish Ambulance Service for their efforts during the coronavirus pandemic as they kicked off their country-wide tour in Edinburgh.

William and Kate arrived in Edinburgh Waverley before setting off to meet ambulance staff in Newbridge, near the Capital, on Monday morning.

Meeting members of SAS was the first engagement of their UK-wide morale-boosting festive trip on the royal train where they will be thanking frontline workers for their efforts during the pandemic.

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The visit coincided with the announcement that the royal pair have become joint patrons of NHS Charities Together.

Duke and Duchess of Cambridge arrive at Edinburgh Waverley for royal tour picture: PA and JPI MediaDuke and Duchess of Cambridge arrive at Edinburgh Waverley for royal tour picture: PA and JPI Media
Duke and Duchess of Cambridge arrive at Edinburgh Waverley for royal tour picture: PA and JPI Media

The 240 NHS charities in the UK provide extra funding and additional services above and beyond what the NHS core-funds, supporting hospitals, community and mental health services, and ambulance services.

Ian Lush, chairman of NHS Charities Together, said: “This is such an honour for our organisation and for all the NHS charities across the UK.

“The involvement of their Royal Highnesses will inspire the public to do even more to support the amazing NHS staff and volunteers who have done so much to keep us safe and well this year.

“We can’t wait to start working with the duke and duchess, the potential is so exciting.”

The Scottish Ambulance Service received funding from NHS Charities Together, which has been spent on indoor and outdoor wellbeing spaces for staff, as well as wellbeing packs with information booklets and reusable water bottles.

Kensington Palace said William and Kate’s visit on Monday had added poignancy as falls on the day the service remembers a colleague lost to Covid-19.

Earlier, the royal couple pulled into Edinburgh Waverley station to the sounds of a piper playing Christmas songs including Jingle Bells and Santa Claus Is Coming To Town.

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The duke was the first to step out of the Royal Claret-coloured carriages, adjusting his face mask as he did so, followed by Kate.

The duchess, in a Liberty print face covering, was dressed in a smart blue coat and black gloves, while William was wearing a navy coat and a tartan scarf.

They were welcomed to the city on the platform and chatted briefly, before thanking the piper and leaving the station to make their way to their first engagement.

The royal pair boarded the service at London Euston on Sunday and will travel 1,250 miles over the three-day tour, meeting care home staff, teachers, schoolchildren and volunteers to learn about the challenges they faced and their inspiring stories.

A spokeswoman for 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."

It is thought the tour will be the duchess's first official journey by the royal train despite having been a member of the monarchy for almost a decade, while the duke has used it a number of times.

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