Duke and Duchess of Cambridge in Scotland

The Duke of Cambridge – Earl of Strathearn in Scotland – has been appointed as the Lord High Commissioner to represent the Queen at this year’s General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, which was postponed from last year due to the ongoing pandemic. The Duke will be in Scotland from May 21st to the 27th, with the Duchess joining in on the 24th, visiting Edinburgh and Fife, in addition to embarking on their first official joint trip to Orkney. Learn More about the Royal Family at the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland.

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On the morning of May 27th, their final day in Scotland, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge – Earl and Countess of Strathearn in Scotland – visited Starbank Park in Edinburgh to hear about the work of Fields in Trust, who are running a pioneering initiative to reduce inequality of access to green spaces in the UK. The Duke of Cambridge has been President of Fields in Trust since 2013, when he took the role on from his grandfather, the Duke of Edinburgh, who had been involved with the organisation since 1948. They met with local volunteers who have transformed the 125 year old park over the last seven years, and met members of the community who use the space including local families, nursery groups and Duke of Edinburgh Award participants. The Duchess of Cambridge also dropped off a copy of Hold Still at the park’s lending library.

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Later that morning, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge joined local schoolchildren in a youth session run by the Lawn Tennis Association, of which the Duchess is patron. They joined a class from Canal View Primary School at Craiglockhart Tennis Centre in a set of exercises from the LTA Youth programme including hopscotch, floor tennis and team cones. The Duke and Duchess heard from LTA Chief Executive Sam Richardson and Participation Director Olly Scadgill about how LTA Youth Schools content has been specifically created for education settings to develop key character qualities such as perseverance, resilience and respect which compliment the PSHE curriculum.

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That afternoon, as promised last year, the Duchess hosted 5 year old Mila Sneddon, who is fighting leukaemia, at the Palace of Holyrood House. Mila’s photo, Shielding Mila, was one of the finalists in the Hold Still project, and the Duchess promised to meet her wearing a pink dress.

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Later that afternoon, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge attended the Dissolution of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, where the Duke (this year’s Lord High Commissioner), gave an address, ahead of the ‘clapping out ceremony’. More HERE.

That evening, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge attended a Beating Retreat Ceremony featuring the massed pipes and drums of the Combined Cadet Force in Scotland and dancers outside the Palace of Holyroodhouse to mark the end of their stay in Scotland for Lord High Commissioner’s Week.

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On arrival in Edinburgh on May 21st, the Duke of Cambridge, Earl of Strathearn in Scotland, inspected the Guard of Honour and was formally welcomed as Lord High Commissioner in the Ceremony of the Keys at the Palace of Holyroodhouse, followed by a Reception with military personnel and veterans. Earlier, the Duke had visited Spartans FC’s Ainslie Park Stadium, to hear about initiatives in Scottish football that champion mental health ahead of the Scottish Cup Final on Saturday

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On the morning of May 22nd, the Duke of Cambridge / Earl of Strathearn (wearing the Star of the Order of the Thistle) gave a speech in his role as the Lord High Commissioner at the Opening Ceremony of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland in the Church Assembly Hall in Edinburgh. The General Assembly is a significant annual event in the Church of Scotland calendar, which examines the work and laws of the Church and makes decisions that affect its future. More HERE.

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That afternoon, the Duke of Cambridge met with emergency responders at the Cold Town House in the Grassmarket in Edinburgh, joining football fans from across the Scottish emergency services, alongside their friends and family members, at a rooftop bar to watch the Scottish Cup Final between Hibernian and St Johnstone.

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In the evening, Prince William visited the iconic Knockhill Racing Circuit in Fife to hear about Extreme E’s pioneering work to create sustainable motorsports before test driving their Odyssey 21 electric vehicle. He saw Extreme E’s hydrogen fuel cell and heard from Alejandro Agag, Founder and CEO of Extreme E, and Adam Bond, CEO of AFC Energy, how the pioneering technology will enable the championship’s race fleet to be charged using zero-emission energy. During Lord High Commissioner’s Week, Prince William will be visiting innovative projects that are aiming to positively change the dial on climate change. 

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In his role as Lord High Commissioner to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, on May 23rd, Prince William learned how communities and organisations associated with Church of Scotland have continued to support one another during the pandemic. After inspecting a Guard of the Boys’ Brigade, the Duke of Cambridge joined Betty and the residents of Queens Bay Lodge for ice cream and a chat — the care home is operated by CrossReach, which supports over 10,000 people in Scotland living in challenging situations.

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On the morning of May 24th, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge – Earl and Countess of Strathearn in Scotland – visited Turning Point Scotland’s centre in North Lanarkshire to hear about the vital support that the organisation provides to those facing complex and challenging situations, including homelessness, mental ill health and substance abuse, and the work they are carrying out to break down cycles of crime and addiction. That afternoon, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge carried out a visit to East Lothian to learn about the impact of the pioneering Scottish Violence Reduction Unit (SVRU), and the support it provides to community organisations across the country.

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Later that evening, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge joined Sikh Sanjog in the café kitchen at the Palace of Holyroodhouse to prepare meals which were to be distributed to vulnerable families across Edinburgh. They heard from some of those who receive support from the organisation, before meeting members of one of the organisation’s youth groups who were preparing entries for a competition to design the cover of a new book being released by Sikh Sanjog. Finally, the Duke and Duchess met the women’s group, who gave a traditional Sikh Shabadh drumming display.

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On May 25th, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge made their first official visit to Orkney,  beginning the day by opening the Balfour Hospital in Kirkwall, which has enabled the repatriation of many NHS services from the Scottish mainland, allowing Orkney’s population to receive most of their healthcare at home. The Duke and Duchess met a number of NHS staff to hear more about their experiences over the past year, before formally opening the hospital. They also visited dropped in to have a chat (and a cuppa) with the Bichan family.

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The Duke and Duchess saw the work of the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) – the only accredited wave and tidal test centre for marine renewable energy in the world, founded in 2003. They heard about EMEC’s leading role in tackling climate change and supporting the UK’s green recovery, from marine renewable energy generation to green hydrogen production and distribution. The Duke and Duchess also visited the fuel cell & hydrogen storage trailers at Kirkwall Pier, which take locally produced hydrogen and reconvert it back to electricity, before heading out to sea to see the world’s largest tidal energy turbine, the 2MW ‘O2’.

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On May 26th, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were in Fife, beginning the with a session of land yachting with Fife Young Carers on the West Sands Beach. Fife Young Carers’ hugely impactful work sees them offer young carers some respite from their caring role, and the opportunity to have fun spending time with people of their own age.

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Twenty years after they first met, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge returned to the University of St Andrews, to hear from current students about how they have coped and supported each other during the past difficult year. On St Salvator’s Lawn, the Duke and Duchess joined Geography and History of Art students contributing to the ‘Can Do’ scheme, a joint initiative between the University and the St Andrews Students’ Association, to discuss their experiences of the pandemic. The Duke and Duchess helped finish painting socially distanced hearts on the lawn, introduced by the Can Do scheme to encourage students to spend more time safely outdoors, in small groups. The Duke and Duchess also paid a visit to the Can Do marquee, meeting students who were able to plan and host their Covid-secure extra-curricular activities and society events in the space.

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In the afternoon, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge met with local fishermen from Pittenweem Fishermen’s Mutual Association and their families to hear about the fishing industry in Fife, and the impact of the last year on fishing communities on the east coast of Scotland. During the visit to Pittenweem Harbour on the Firth of Forth, the Duke and Duchess were shown the fishermen’s boats, which catch langoustines, lobsters and crabs, and spoke with individuals involved in various stages of the fishing process, including fishermen, the harbourmaster and a fish merchant, before enjoying a seafood BBQ with local restaurateur Amy Elles, who buys produce from the harbour at the local market.

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That evening, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (wearing the Queen’s Dubai Looped Sapphire Earrings) hosted NHS staff from around Scotland at a unique drive-in cinema to watch a special screening of Disney’s Cruella at the Palace of Holyroodhouse, arriving in one of the Duke of Edinburgh’s special Land Rovers. The Duchess gave a speech thanking NHS Staff.

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