Kate Middleton and Prince William Are Facing Criticism Over Their Royal Train Tour

British politicians have raised questions about the necessity of the Cambridges' Royal Train tour amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

  • Kate Middleton and Prince William wrapped up their three-day tour on the Royal Train on Tuesday.
  • Politicians raised questions about the tour, as travel restrictions are in place in England, Scotland, and Wales amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Royal insiders stressed that the tour was permitted according to official guidelines.

Kate Middleton and Prince William concluded their royal tour on Tuesday, after traveling throughout England, Scotland, and Wales onboard the Royal Train to thank those working on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic. But some politicians have raised questions about the necessity of the tour, noting that COVID-19 cases remain high across the UK and travel restrictions are in place between some areas.

The Cambridges visited Cardiff on Tuesday, a day after Wales' health minister Vaughan Gething announced in a press conference that Wales was the only area of the UK where COVID-19 numbers were not falling. Speaking to the BBC about the royal tour, Gething said, "I'd rather no one was having unnecessary visits."

"Their visit isn't an excuse for people to say they're confused about what they're being asked to do," Gething continued. Noting that "people always have divisive views about the monarchy," the health minister stressed, "I don't think [the tour] is going to be an excuse for people to say, 'I should go and behave in a different way and I should act as if the harm that is being seen in front of us in every part of our healthcare system is not taking place.'"

Scotland's first minister Nicola Sturgeon said in a briefing Monday that the Cambridges had been advised about travel restrictions between England and Scotland, as the Independent reports. At present, travel between England and Scotland without a valid reason is illegal, though travel for work is among the exceptions to the rule. 

"The Scottish government was advised about the intention to visit, and we made sure that the Royal Household were aware, as you would expect, of the restrictions in place in Scotland so that could inform both the decision and the planning of the visit," Sturgeon said.

While Kensington Palace hasn't released an official comment, royal sources reportedly stressed that the Cambridges were working while traveling between Scotland and England, making their trip legal. They further stated that the UK, Scottish, and Welsh governments were involved in the planning of the tour, according to the Independent

10 Downing Street initially declined to comment on criticism of the tour, calling it a "matter for the palace," as the BBC reports. But a spokesperson subsequently commented, "The PM is delighted to see the warm reception the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have received on their hugely valuable train tour of England, Scotland and Wales," adding, ""The tour will be a welcome morale boost to frontline workers who have done so much during the pandemic."

Emily Dixon
Morning Editor

Emily Dixon is a British journalist who’s contributed to CNN, Teen Vogue, Time, Glamour, The Guardian, Wonderland, The Big Roundtable, Bust, and more, on everything from mental health to fashion to political activism to feminist zine collectives. She’s also a committed Beyoncé, Kacey Musgraves, and Tracee Ellis Ross fan, an enthusiastic but terrible ballet dancer, and a proud Geordie lass.