Monday, 7 December 2020

The Royal Train Tour Continues in Batley & Manchester

Following several engagements in Scotland and Berwick-Upon-Tweed, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge took the royal train to Batley in West Yorkshire and Manchester to highlight the importance of community initiatives and reaching out to others, as demonstrated by the Duchess herself throughout the pandemic.

The whistle-stop tour took the couple to Edinburgh and Berwick-Upon-Tweed before a late afternoon stop in Batley.

Their first port of call was a local community centre which supported elderly people throughout the pandemic by dropping off groceries and essentials, keeping in touch via phone and sending activity packs.

Seeing the festive touches at stops along the way was a highlight of the day for me, and I'm sure I'm not the only one longing for a return to normality. The Christmas trees and decorations on show are a reminder of the community spirit we've seen in villages, towns and cities all over the world this year. A bright light and a spot of cheer as we all look to happier times ahead.

The Duchess was delighted to meet Len Gardner in person. In today's earlier post, we discussed news Kate had called him during the pandemic and enjoyed some very warm conversations.

'The Duchess of Cambridge has secretly been volunteering during the Covid pandemic, making phone calls to 85-year-old full-time carer Len Gardner, The Sun can reveal. Dispensing with formality, she insisted: “Call me Catherine.” Kate, 38, and Len were connected earlier in the year by the Royal Voluntary Service. 

During two lengthy conversations during the first lockdown, Kate chatted away to her new friend about making pasta and taking her children to watch sheep ­shearing.

Len, from Batley, West Yorks, said: “Never in my wildest imagination did I think I would be talking on the phone to the future Queen of England.

“I will treasure our conversations for the rest of my life. Those calls helped me because they gave me something to look forward to.”

It's been an incredibly tough year for Len who cares for his wife Shirley and is battling bladder cancer.

Len revealed they discussed the children quite a bit. "She told me Prince George and Princess Charlotte were playing in the garden and she was keeping an eye on them through the window. Apparently they have thousands of sheep down at Sandringham and her eldest children couldn’t understand how we get wool without killing the animal. It was the sort of conversation I might have with anyone about their family. She didn’t mention William much. But I gabble on a lot."

The pair chatted about their shared interest in the Scouts and pasta. The latter which led to an unexpected delivery for Len. Following a discussion about pasta, Kate asked Len if he had a pasta maker; he told her didn't. Three days later one was delivered to his door from the Duchess. It's an example of the value of kindness especially during a year like no other. Kate's time and her thoughtful gift meant so much to Len.

If you are considering volunteering in a similar way, click here to visit the Royal Voluntary Service's website. The Queen has been patron since 1952.

From there, KP shared this image on Instagram with the caption, "Where to next?"

In Manchester, William and Kate visited Fare Share, a charity fighting hunger and food waste by redistributing good-quality, in-date produce.

To adequately convey the efforts and success of the charity, it is perhaps most appropriate to look at the numbers: 20,892 volunteer hours given; 1,468 tonnes of food redistributed; 232 Community Food Members supplied; and 3,470,440 meals provided in 2018 and 2019.

The Duke and Duchess met staff and volunteers.

The Duke and Duchess watched a special performance by Wayne Ellington and Manchester Inspirational Voices, presented by Band on the Wall.

The independent music venue is being supported by the government's £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund to help alleviate pressure on the industry and to help ensure doors can be safely reopened.

Ahead of the trip, Kensington Palace noted "a number of festive performances from artists, celebrating the inspiring work of the organisations and projects the Duke and Duchess are visiting" were planned to add to the Christmas spirit along the way.

During a brief speech William said, "Catherine and I felt that it was extremely important to visit just some of the heroes that have emerged this year to thank you for all that you have done. You are the people that have not only kept our country going but have also helped warm all our hearts by showing us the very best of human nature."

A video from the speech.

The Duchess was in a navy ensemble and two different sweaters for the evening.

Readers will recognise Kate's Hobbs London Bianca Coat first worn in Wales in February.

The long, military-inspired piece is described as, "Crafted from a luxurious wool-rich fabric, the Bianca from Hobbs is a timeless layer you'll still be wearing years from now. Expertly tailored, it's cut to a maxi silhouette and features burnished crested buttons and shoulder epaulettes." The piece is on sale in black at John Lewis.

Kate wore her navy high-waisted Jigsaw trousers.

Kate's festive sweater is a piece from a collaboration between Troy London and Brora, two British brands she's worn on multiple occasions (with thanks to Palace Avenue). The £195 jumper is described as, "Made in the north of Scotland on a whole garment machine meaning absolutely zero waste, these very special knits feature beautiful colour combinations, a flattering shape and lovely cuff detail."

The Duchess donned her navy Emmy London Josie block heel pumps.

Kate's stylish new bag is the Métier Roma small suede shoulder bag (with thanks to Middleton Maven).

And a pair of Faux-Pearl Curb-Chain earrings by Simone Rocha (another excellent ID by Middleton Maven).

Kate also wore a pair of navy gloves and face masks by Amaia Kids.

If you are just joining us, click here to read today's earlier post.

I understand the Cambridges will visit Wales tomorrow before travelling to Windsor where new official photos of the couple with the Queen, Prince Philip, Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall will be taken.


  1. I really like Kates look today the pants are a great match to the coat. I like both the cream jumpers but the Troy x Bror jumper looks a bit odd with the cuffs extending past the coat sleeves to me. Not being from a cold climate owning so many coats is foreign to me but its nice to see all the different coats Kate has!

  2. Love the additional activities. She and William are doing a wonderful job. I really like that they are showcasing musicians and checking base with individuals and various groups of different sizes. Fashion wise, that coat is great and the two sweaters beautiful. The slacks work really well with the coat and sweaters. Can't wait to see the stops tomorrow. Thanks for the share it is a nice uplift from a such a hard year for everyone.

  3. They really have done a wonderful job this year trying to connect via Zoom and keep spirits up and thanks to those on the front lines. What a lovely way to finish the year. All class!

  4. yes i love the extra enagement and ita will fantastic way to end the day

  5. I love the feeling of thankfulness, togetherness and joy that William and Kate are bringing with this tour. A simple thank you means so much, and for them to bring national attention to thanking people who have been through so much this year is a lovely thing. We need more positivity in this world, and this thank you tour is over flowing with that—the personal visits mixed with the bigger picture group works and the holiday cheer sprinkled throughout is a lovely boost in hope.

  6. A little late in posting but have been following all of these posts so thank you Charlotte! I love this Hobbs coat (but navy is a favourite of mine! ) the long wide pants and the sweaters is very chic. Dress Pants have made a real comeback this last year and a half and pre-COVID young women in my office were wearing lots of very smart pant suits. I also loved the Maple Leaf plaid scarf the Duchess wore on the first night. It was the perfect match with the imbecibly tailored McQueen coat. I think this tour is a brilliant idea and Kensington Palaces social game has been on point. Great work all around.

  7. Tammy from California8 December 2020 at 23:57

    Love both looks today! I really love the "Faire Isle" looking sweater. Festive and seasonal. I think the royal blue coat, pants and shoes really gave everything a professional look while being in NHS colors. Very nice.


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