The Duchess of Cambridge showcased her signature flair for diplomatic dressing as she joined husband Prince William for the second leg of his Scottish royal tour.
Kate, 39, sported a £59.99 Zara blazer and pleated midi skirt in the colour of the Scottish flag for a visit to Turning Point Scotland, a social care charity in Coatbridge, North Lanarkshire. The couple learned about the support the organisation provides to those facing homelessness, mental health issues and substance abuse.
The visit is part of a royal charm offensive to help persuade Scotland to resist the demands of nationalists for independence.
It received its effective launch over the weekend when William gave a deeply personal speech in which he described the ‘special place’ that Scotland had in his heart, a country which he said held both some of his ‘happiest memories’ and his ‘saddest’.
It was at Balmoral where he learned of the death of his mother Diana, in 1997. And it was at St Andrews where he met and fell in love with Kate Middleton.
William, 38, arrived in Scotland on Friday and will be joined by Kate on the remainder of his engagements on the week-long tour to win hearts and minds. The couple will return to London on Thursday.
Royals on tour! The Duchess of Cambridge is in Scotland to join her husband for the second leg of his tour
First stop: The couple learned more about the work of Turning Point Scotland, a social care charity in Coatbridg
Beaming: The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge smiled as they learned more about the services offered by the charity
True blue! The Duchess of Cambridge wore a skirt and jacket in the blue of the Scottish flag for the visit today
Kate, 39, sported a blazer and pleated midi skirt for the visit to Turning Point Scotland, a social care charity in Coatbridge
The Duchess of Cambridge looked elegant in a royal blue blazer for the charity visit in North Lanarkshire today
Today the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge spoke with individuals supported by Turning Point Scotland’s (TPS) Turnaround service.
Turnaround delivers targeted programmes to address the complex and interrelated issues of offending behaviours and problematic use of alcohol and other drugs, which often result in patterns of re-offending.
During their visit, The Duke and Duchess joined a video call with staff and service users from TPS’ Glasgow Overdose Response Team (GORT), to hear how the service works to reduce drug related deaths by providing real-time crisis support for people who have experienced a near fatal overdose.
Exact details of their Scottish tour schedule is being kept under wraps but the Duke and Duchess are expected to visit St Andrews University, where they met as students 20 years ago.
The couple, who are staying at the Palace of Holyroodhouse, will also host a special drive-in screening of Disney’s Cruella for NHS staff, and will join young carers from the local Fife area for a session of land yachting on the beach. The trip will also include the couple’s first official visit to Orkney.
Pressure for a second independence referendum has increased after the Scottish National Party narrowly missed winning a majority in the Scottish Parliament. Public opinion about independence is on a knife edge according to polls and First Minister Nicola Sturgeon wants a vote before the end of 2023.
Officials at No 10 have held discussions about how to emphasise ‘cultural bonds’ – with the Royal Family seen as one of the most powerful weapons in the armoury.
The Queen is passionate about the union and spends her annual summer break at Balmoral.
Her subtle comment about the independence referendum in 2014 – asking people to ‘think carefully about the future’ – while staying at Balmoral, was credited with influencing the vote to remain.
In his address on Saturday to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland in Edinburgh, Prince William not only touched upon some of the most private aspects of his life, but also struck a conciliatory tone.
‘It is my duty today to speak, but equally I am here to listen,’ he said. ‘In Scotland this week I will have my eyes and ears permanently open. Along with listening this week, there is something I do want to tell you.
‘Scotland is incredibly important to me and will always have a special place in my heart.’
William, who is known as the Earl of Strathearn in Scotland, was speaking in his role as Lord High Commissioner to the General Assembly, a ceremonial appointment dating back to the 16th Century.
He spoke of his happy time at St Andrews university as a student and training as a pilot in Inverness, adding: ‘Scotland is the source of some of my happiest memories. But also my saddest.’
Virtual meeting: The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge spoke to some people via videolink during the outing
In what was interpreted as a nod to longevity, he referred to his children including Prince George, who is third in line to the throne. ‘George, Charlotte and Louis already know how dear Scotland is to both of us, and they are starting to build their own happy memories here too,’ he said. ‘We have no doubt they will grow up sharing our love and connection to Scotland from the Highlands to the Central Belt, from the Islands to the Borders.’
The Queen, who on Saturday visited the crew of the aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth in Portsmouth, made her own apparent comment about a ‘United Kingdom’ in a letter to the Church of Scotland which was read out by her chaplain in Scotland, the Rev Dr George Whyte.
In reference to changes that have taken place during the coronavirus pandemic, she wrote: ‘New bonds have been forged in times of emergency but they will serve us all well in the future as the United Kingdom seeks to rebuild and reshape community life.’
The Queen is making plans for her traditional ‘Holyrood Week’ in early summer. Aides say there will be several ‘high-profile events where Her Majesty will be seen out and about’.
The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall will also be involved but the decision to send the Cambridges ahead was a clear part of the PR strategy. A source told the Mail On Sunday: ‘It’s about opening a dialogue – listening and talking. All members of the Royal Family have a strong affinity with Scotland.