Monday, 25 January 2021

The Cambridges Mark Burns Night by Supporting the NHS

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge marked Burns Night, a celebration of Robert Burns, widely regarded as Scotland's national poet. William and Kate worked alongside NHS Charities Together and Tayside Health Fund to provide a traditional supper of haggis, neeps and tatties to two hundred frontline workers caring for patients in Dundee.

In a video message coinciding with the news William said, "Hello to everyone at NHS Tayside. We know Burns Night is a special evening for Scots around the world. A time to come together to eat, drink and to celebrate the life and work of Robert Burns." The Duchess added, "Sadly this year is a little different. And for many of you working on the frontline, tonight will be a very different occasion, as you work tirelessly through this pandemic to protect the most vulnerable in our society." William continued, "As a token of our appreciation, we've teamed up with NHS Charities Together to provide you with a Haggis dinner." Kate said, "We hope you enjoy it and look forward to better times together soon."

'The couple also arranged for royal warrant holders to donate Burns Biscuits and gift boxes to a further 100 staff to thank them for their work.

Aides said the couple, who met at St Andrews University and are regular visitors to the Queen’s Balmoral estate in the Highlands, were conscious that Burns Night would not be the same as usual for most Scots and wanted to do something to show their appreciation.

The gesture follows controversy over the Cambridges’ visit to Edinburgh as part of their UK train tour in December after it emerged that Scottish Government officials had twice tried to dissuade them from visiting due to the pandemic. It also comes amid renewed calls for an independence referendum, with polls suggesting Scots are increasingly in favour of independence.'

Another terrific element is news Scottish warrant holders the Fisher & Donaldson bakery and emporium Valvona & Crolla donated boxes to staff at the request of the Palace. At the beginning of the pandemic, we saw huge efforts by online retailers and members of the public in sending much-needed meals to those on the front line. As we continue to battle on, it's so important in our respective communities to continue gestures of appreciation to those sacrificing so much to keep us safe. Below, a traditional Burns supper of haggis, neeps and tatties, as donated by the Cambridges. (Neeps are better known as swedes and tatties are potatoes). If interested in finding out more there are several recipes available on the BBC Good Food website.

Hello! writes:

Grant Archibald, NHS Tayside chief executive, said: "Our staff have now been at the frontline in our response to Covid-19 for more than 300 days and their dedication has been truly awe-inspiring. 

"It means so much to all of our teams across Angus, Dundee and Perth & Kinross to receive this special message of appreciation today which underlines the ongoing, extraordinary efforts of Team Tayside."

Robert Burns was born in 1759 in Alloway, Scotland. Like his father, he was a tenant farmer. Throughout his life his passion was poetry and his talent capturing aspects of his own life and larger societal and religious issues. The Poetry Foundation shared an excerpt from a letter the poet wrote in 1786. "I am in a fair way of becoming as eminent as Thomas a Kempis or John Bunyan; and you may expect henceforth to see my birthday inserted among the wonderful events, in the Poor Robin's and Aberdeen Almanacks and by all probability I shall soon be the tenth Worthy, and the eighth Wise Man, of the world."

The power of words to evoke emotions experienced during relationships are beautifully illustrated in 'Ae Fond Kiss'It was written in 1791 by Burns and sent to a woman he loved before she left Scotland. They never saw each other again.

Ae fond kiss and then we sever

Ae fareweel, alas for ever

Deep in heart-wrung tears I'll pledge thee

Warring sighs and groans I'll wage thee

Who shall say that fortune grieves him

While the star of hope she leaves him

Me, nae cheerful twinkle lights me

Dark despair around benights me...

The lyrical poem has been recorded by several prominent artists. Below, a rendition by Scottish singer-songwriter (and frontwoman of Fairground Attraction) Eddi Reader performed at a tribute show for Robert Burns.

Did you know the festive favourite Auld Lang Syne was made popular by Burns? He sent a copy of the original song to the Scots Musical Museum in 1788 with a note reading, "The following song, an old song, of the olden times, and which has never been in print, nor even in manuscript until I took it down from an old man."

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,

And never brought to mind?

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,

And auld lang syne

Speaking about the impact of the poem today, Prince Charles said, "With Auld Lang Syne, he gave us words which have become a symbol of fellowship the world over - and never has that sense of connection been more important than now."

To mark the day, Buckingham Palace shared several stunning recent photos from Balmoral with Burns' poem 'My Heart is in the Highlands':

A lovely reading of the poem by the Duchess of Cornwall.

A virtual Burns Night from SCOTS officers and soldiers. 

To give you a flavour of pre-pandemic celebrations taking place all over the world, take a look at this video from 2019 at the Kincardine Legion.

You will recognise the tartan Emilia Wickstead pieces worn by the Duchess in the video.

The Duchess wore the skirt during the Royal Train Tour in December.

The piece is cut in an A-line silhouette from sturdy flannel that has sharp knife pleats throughout. Cinched with a belted waist.

We first saw a glimpse of the top when Kate arrived for the Queen's pre-Christmas luncheon at Buckingham Palace in December 2019.

The Duchess accessorised her Simone Rocha pearl earrings.


In a spot of bright news, it was revealed by The Mail on Sunday the Cambridges welcomed a new addition to their family. James Middleton gave the family a female spaniel, who is now eight months old, before Lupo passed away. The new arrival is in fact a niece of Lupo's. The pet's name is not yet known. In July, James shared the below image with the caption, "56 days ago you were born, 56 days of early starts, lots of poo and half eaten socks but 56 days of pure joy watching you grow. But now it’s time for you go. I am sad to see you go, and yes I might cry but it will be with happiness, as each of your new homes are bursting with love. You might be scared at first, that's ok. Just be yourself and you will never understand how much happiness you will bring to your new families and all the people you meet." I'm sure the children are having a wonderful time playing with the new addition at Anmer.

I expect we could very well hear something from the Duchess on Wednesday to mark Holocaust Memorial Day. The Court Circular notes she spoke with survivors and Holocaust Educational Trust’s youth ambassadors. A word of thanks for your excellent Kate Loves suggestions. Work is already underway... Finally, if searching for a much needed injection of royal sparkle, I enormously enjoyed writing about Princess Grace's 40th birthday (and how Elizabeth Taylor stole the show). Pop over to The Royal Digest to read.


  1. The red tartan skirt and sweater Kate wore in the snow is one of my favorite looks.

    The puppies are all adorable. Any of those puppies are a winning addition to a forever home.

  2. Dear, your link to Emila wickstead is not working

  3. Hello, thanks it's nice to hear the poems read aloud. Is that photo from Kincardine in Scotland or Canada?

  4. Kate looks beautiful and this red plaid outfit from The Royal Train Tour inspired me to wear plaid! So festive- a great cause with needed thanks to those taking care of us. I’m currently trying to find a location to get the vaccine as I’m now eligible (teacher who has been in person)- hopefully soon! Thank you for your thorough research on each post about the patronage/cause & fashion.

  5. She looks really happy and healthy.

  6. So happy to see the Puppies, and glad to know that dear Lupo's niece is part of their family.
    James Middleton seems like such a wonderful, caring man.
    Enjoyed the post.

  7. Lovely post. So happy to see that dear Lupo’s niece is with the Cambridges. What adorable puppies.
    James Middleton seems like such a caring, good soul.
    I will now pop over and read about Princess Grace’s 40th birthday celebration.

  8. I want to like it but her style is often just... so on the nose. Ireland=Green! Scotland=Tartan! She comes off a little costume-y to me at times. I’d love to see her with some more subtle style acknowledgments to host countries or causes she is highlighting. I LOVE her new hair styling though.

    1. For me one of the main appeals of royal dressing is that they can be over the top. When could anyone wear their hats, coats or jewels? I don’t want to see royals in jeans or being subtle. Give me all the “costume” you can as long as they’re perfectly executed!

    2. I generally like what Kate wears, but she's too young to always wear such buttoned up necklines. She has a couple of dresses with those white collars and cuffs, and it looks schoolmarmish, IMO. I like her new hairstyle; it looks less fussed with. Boy, I sound so picky! I think she's doing an outstanding job in her role, and she seems to be a wonderful mother and partner to William. They really are a great team, and they'll need to rely on each other more and more as their responsibilities increase.

  9. I had to look up neeps and tatties to see what they were! My international education continues as I follow the Royals! What a nice thing for the Duke and Duchess to do for the frontline workers!! I hope they appreciate it and don't become independent. The Duchess wore a very appropriate outfit for Scotland. William should have brought out a kilt! I would like this outfit even if it didn't have the association with Scotland. I am glad the Cambridges had another dog to help them over the loss of Lupo.

  10. Kate looks relaxed and stunning. I love her hair like this, it looks very flattering.

    1. I watched the intrigue displayed on my sister's face until i asked what she was reading. And when this blog was disclosed, i immediately took to the web to search it. The earrings are the what caught my eye the most!!! Unlike other blogs, this writer notes to us the designers so we are able to "get the look"

  11. I love this red tartan look!! Thank you for all the Scottish background information. I am an American but my ancestors are Scottish and I really enjoyed your post!!


  12. Valerie in Arizona26 January 2021 at 06:14

    Oh Dundee! Although my Campbell ancestors are originally from the Highlands near the Black Isle, my great grandfather moved to Dundee and my grandfather was born there. Wore my Campbell tartan shawl yesterday as it’s actually SNOWING in Arizona! Thank you for the lovely commentary Charlotte. As someone who grew up in the midst of the separatist movement in Quebec, and as someone who also has Irish Republican roots, I can understand the Scots’ desire for independence but economically it makes no sense, given Scotland’s geography, Still they must do as they must and I wish them well for all that.

  13. Thank you again for a lovely and interesting post. I don't recall hearing about Burns Night before. It's a great way to show appreciation and respect to the tireless front line workers by marking occasions with thoughtful gestures. Continually touching base and reaching out to different sectors of the health system is such a strength of the Royals right now. In Australia, I feel relatively safe and protected. It's through your wonderful blogs that I hear about the impact of COVID in the UK and America. Thank you, Charlotte!

  14. Kate and William are doing a wonderful job in their continuous support of NHS.
    Kate looks good in anything.
    I love reading James Middleton’s articles, he writes beautifully and articulate.
    And the dogs are just the cutest.

    Eva from G.

  15. Your readers may be interested to know about Fisher and Donaldsons and Valvona and Crolla. All keen Scottish foodies know about V and C, a long established Italian delicatessen in Elm Row, Edinburgh. It is possible that F and D are only known outside Fife by former undergraduates at St Andrews and, more recently, Dundee. Their coffee towers are famous, and so are their fudge doughnuts. Undergraduates used to knock on the back door of their bakery in Crails Lane in the early hours of the morning after all night parties.

    1. That is very interesting! I'm American, only have been to Edinburgh the one time, but loved every minute of my stay.

  16. Kitty, Kansas (Usa)26 January 2021 at 19:52

    I was never one for Blog reading or partaking in, in the past. Of late however, comments have taught me a thing or two. I've been in the bleak for isntance about the Duchess of Cornwall being the Chancellor at Aberdeen Univ. I hope it will never have to change .

  17. How kind and thoughtful of the Duke and Duchess. She looks really beautiful in tartan. I'm sure the warm meal and hampers were very much appreciated by the staff. In Ireland we would call that turnips, potatoes and black pudding. Great for the children to have a new puppy in lockdown.

  18. Susan in Florida27 January 2021 at 04:53

    Thank you for sharing the food and traditions of Burns Night. I didn’t know about the food or reciting the poems. The Prince of Wales did a good job. I loved the video with the bagpipes and drums. The Cambridge’s are offering stellar support to healthcare workers. These frontline pandemic fighters can’t be thanked enough.

  19. Don't know what to say Charlotte. How do you do it?

    1. That's right!! I know you mean that Cera cuz i feel exactly the same. Not sure which residence it is... Is that KP or AH? I love the plants in-house; it's so down-to-earth of them, imagine having lawnes and gardens spread out but then choosing the green theme on the inside as well. Not just regal, thoughtful they are likewise.

  20. Love this tartan dress. Love them supporting and recognizing the NHS, love how sweet and kind William and Catherine are!

  21. well i love thst the duchess and duke was supporting the nhs they did the right job its realky a big boost on their morale on the crying times i myself really love what they support and boast NHS here my home its all politcs they give a credit to healthcare workers but its not enought from our gorverment they give shot the leaders are good but their cabinet is not good oh by the way i love the duchess wore she looks good tartan dress


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