The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will make a whirlwind working tour of Great Britain on the royal train this week to spread Christmas cheer across the country.
Travelling on the Queen's train for the first time, Prince William and Kate will stop in Scotland, England and Wales to pay tribute to those who have kept the nation going during the COVID-19 pandemic.
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And the royal visitors will be met with some much-missed live music and performance along the way, with plenty of festive entertainments planned along the 1,250 mile route.
Between 6 and 8 December, they will meet frontline workers, volunteers, care home staff, teachers, schoolchildren and young people to hear about their experiences during 2020.
The couple will "pass on the nation's sincere thanks and gratitude for all of their efforts to keep people safe and keep the country going," while many of the engagements will "celebrate community spirit and demonstrate the impact of the public’s generosity this year," according to Kensington Palace.
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A doodle of the royal train by Joe Whale
The palace shared a doodle created by ten-year-old Joe Whale to bring the royal journey to life.
Following Government guidance, the Duke and Duchess will showcase organisations and initiatives that have been supported by community relief funds, including NHS Charities Together.
They will also highlight the UK's arts, heritage and live performance sector, which has been bolstered by a £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund during the coronavirus pandemic.
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The Queen and the Duchess of Sussex took the royal train to Cheshire in 2018
A spokesperson for Kensington Palace said: "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."
This will be the first time William and Kate have used the royal train to carry out their duties, following a tradition started by Queen Victoria, who became the first monarch to travel by train in June 1842.
Queen Elizabeth has made regular use of the current royal train, which was formed in 1977 for her Silver Jubilee.
She invited the newly-married Duchess of Sussex to travel to Cheshire with her on it in 2018. The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall have also used the train in recent years.
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