Yui Mok/PA Images/Getty Prince William and Kate Middleton at a holiday party in 2018
Departing on Sunday, the couple will make stops in England, Scotland and Wales (traveling 1,250 miles in the process!) to meet frontline workers, volunteers, care home staff, teachers, schoolchildren and young people to hear about their "experiences, sacrifices and the inspiring work they have done throughout this challenging year," their office says.
Staying overnight on the train as they go, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will make stops in towns and cities around the country, celebrating the resilience of communities as they prepare for Christmas – and also pay tribute to those who have coped with the worst that the COVID-19 crisis has brought. More than 60,000 people have died in the U.K. after contracting the virus.
Ben Birchall/PA Images via Getty Images The Royal Train
“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," a spokesperson for the couple said in a statement.
As they make their final preparations before leaving on Sunday, the couple’s office has released a doodle from Joe Whale, a talented 10-year-old who calls himself "The Doodle Boy" and has summed up the journey in his cheerful artwork.
Joe Whale/The Doodle Boy Joe Whale's doodle
Many of the events that William and Kate are to take part in will celebrate local spirit and demonstrate the impact of the public’s generosity this year. The couple plans to showcase organizations and initiatives that have been supported by community relief funds, including NHS Charities Together.
Prince William and Princess Kate also hope to highlight the art, heritage and live performance sector, which has been supported throughout the pandemic by the Government’s $2.1 billion Culture Recovery Fund. There will be a number of festive performances over the three-day tour from local artists, their office says.
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Jeremy Selwyn - WPA Pool/Getty Images Kate Middleton and Prince William
It's the first time that the couple has traveled to royal engagements on the Royal Train. Queen Victoria was the first reigning British sovereign to use the train in June 1842 — that journey was from Slough, which at that time was the closest train station from Windsor Castle to London Paddington.