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Downing Street belatedly backs controversial royal visit to Wales

09 Dec 2020 3 minutes Read
Picture by Frankie Fouganthin (CC BY-SA 4.0)

Downing Street has belatedly backed a controversial royal visit to Wales after initially declining to do so.

William and Kate’s trip was “unnecessary” in the middle of a pandemic, according to Wales’ Health Minister Vaughan Gething, and a Number 10 spokesperson initially said that it was “matter for the palace”.

Number 10 has now said that Boris Johnson was “delighted to see the warm reception” William and Kate had received on their “hugely valuable” trip by train across Wales, Scotland and England.

Number 10 added: “The tour will be a welcome morale boost to frontline workers who have done so much during the pandemic.”

Vaughan Gething was asked by Radio 4’s Today programme if he agreed it was the right time for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to visit Wales.

“I’d rather that no-one was having unnecessary visits and people always have divisive views about the monarchy,” he said.

“But their visit isn’t an excuse for people to say that they are confused about what they are being asked to do.

“I’m not particularly bothered or interested because I don’t think that 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’.”

 

‘Pandemic’ 

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are in the middle of a three-day tour around the UK to thank communities for their efforts during the pandemic.

Welsh Conservative MS Andrew RT Davies, however, said they were “the words of a detached minister”.

“The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are clearly carrying out public duties (i.e. work) and I for one welcome them to Wales with open arms,” he said.

The trip has also proved controversial in Scotland. It has been revealed that Nicola Sturgeon tried to block Kate Middleton and Prince William’s trip there.

Scotland’s First Minister said the Scottish Government advised the couple about the restrictions when they were told about the trip.

Under current Scottish regulations, it is illegal to travel between England and Scotland unless you have a reasonable excuse.

“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,” she said.

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