Kate Middleton and Prince William board Royal Train
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The Duke of Cambridge will meet the Scottish First Minister while attending the Annual General Assembly of the Church of Scotland today. It is expected the First Minister will speak with the future king at the event, which is being held in Edinburgh,
William was appointed Lord High Commissioner of the Church of Scotland by the Queen in March and will carry out ceremonial duties including making speeches at the opening and closing ceremonies of the General Assembly.
As Lord High Commissioner of the Church of Scotland, Prince William, 37, is representing the Queen, 94, during the ceremony and the subsequent tour which started yesterday.
The Scottish First Minister initially refused to comment on the trip after being asked by the Express what her thoughts on Prince William and Kate Middleton coming to Scotland were?
After being asked the question, a Scottish Government spokesman said: “Arrangements for the royal visit are a matter for the royal household.”
Murdo Fraser MSP, Scottish Conservative COVID-19 recovery spokesman said the reactions of the First Minister and the SNP led Scottish Government were “odd.”
The Mid and Scotland Fife MSP, said: “It is odd that Nicola Sturgeon seems unwilling to even acknowledge that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will be making such an extensive visit to Scotland.
“Members of the Royal Family are always welcome in Scotland and I look forward to seeing them participating in a whole range of engagements during this trip, restrictions notwithstanding.
“It appears as though the First Minister was at pains not to upset any of the republicans in her party by expressing too much warmth ahead of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge making their way north of the border.”
Richard Fitzwilliams, a veteran royal expert, said of the visit: “The Monarchy is a symbol of National Unity.
“The purpose of the Union is one of the reasons for the visit, it’s very important that members of the Royal Family are seen throughout the whole of the United Kingdom.
“It’s perfectly clear that the SNP are sending signals that they aren’t keen on visits by members by the Royal Family.”
However, just hours before the visit today, the SNP led administration changed their tune and a Government spokesman later said: “As always with a Royal visit, the First Minister is delighted that the Duke and Duchess of Strathearn will be visiting Scotland.”
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A Scottish Conservative source, added: “This is a hugely embarrassing blunder from a First Minister that is seeking to split up the UK.”
The SNP led Scottish Government also admitted today they “routinely advise” the Royal Household of Scotland’s coronavirus restrictions.
Scottish Government officials said they also advised the Royal Household of the different restriction levels especially in Orkney, where the Prince is planning to visit.
Kate is expected to join William on Monday on the seven-day trip.
Highlights of the couple’s visit will see the duke invite emergency responders to watch the Scottish Cup Final with him at a rooftop bar in Edinburgh.
As joint patrons of NHS Charities Together, William and Kate will host NHS staff at a drive-in cinema for a special screening of Disney’s Cruella at the Palace of Holyroodhouse.
The couple met at St Andrews University and will take a trip down memory lane with a return to their student town, and meet today’s undergraduates and learn how they have coped during the pandemic.
The couple, who are known as the Duke and Duchess of Strathearn when in Scotland, will also join young carers from the Fife area for a session of land yachting on the beach.
William and Kate will highlight sustainable projects ahead of Glasgow hosting the UN’s Cop26 climate summit in November.
This includes racing an Extreme E electric vehicle at Knockhill Racing Circuit, a visit to Orkney’s European Marine Energy Centre, and hearing how Fields in Trust protects green spaces for communities across the UK.
Orkney is currently in Level One of Scotland’s COVID-19 restrictions system with anyone travelling to the island advised to take two lateral flow tests.
The first test should be taken three days before travel and the second on the day of departure.
Meanwhile, Glasgow has remained in Level Three as cases reached 112 per 100,00 due to an increase of cases of the Indian variant.
It comes after the Royal Household were sent two warnings by the Scottish Government against travelling to Scotland as part of their royal train tour in December.
In FOI requests, the First Minister’s principal private secretary John Somers and James Hynd, the Scottish Government’s head of parliament and governance sent emails to The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s office due to COVID-19 travel restrictions in place at the time over essential travel.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge travelled to Scotland during their three-day 1,250-mile tour of Great Britain in December to thank key workers for their efforts during the coronavirus pandemic.
Kensington Palace said they did not want to comment last night.
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