Kate Middleton and Prince William have embarked on a three-day ‘thank you’ tour of Britain, during which they will meet front-line workers, volunteers, care home staff and teachers who have worked throughout the Covid pandemic.
The 1,250-mile trip kicked off on Sunday evening when they boarded at Euston, with the couple arriving in Edinburgh on Monday morning where they were seen stepping off the Queen’s train.
While members of the royal family do sometimes get normal trains, the official one is saved for only the most senior members of The Firm – The Queen, Charles and Camilla – and it’s reportedly the Monarch’s favourite way to travel.
While on the train, Kate and William will sleep separately as their suite includes “his and hers” single beds as opposed to one double bed.
It also has a private bathtub and a 12-seat dining room and a room onboard for the royals to work in and a kitchen, where staff will prepare meals.
It has been used by monarchs since Queen Victoria, and while the older versions were just as plush as you would expect, with bright velvet sofas and cushions, the modern one is much more low-key with simple decor and furniture.
The present royal carriages came into service for the Queen’s Silver Jubilee in 1977.
The train has not been updated for decades as the Queen prefers to leave things as they are.
Speaking to the BBC back in 2002, director of royal travel Tim Hewlett said: “There is a perception the train is a bit like the Orient Express.
“But there are not many bathroom furnishings you could not get in Homebase or B&Q.”
Queen Victoria was the first monarch to travel by train, and her favourite carriage on the old steam train has recently been restored to it’s former glory.
Photos of King Edward VII’s dining room show detailed wooden paneling, curtains and coving.
The wooden dining table is decorated with flowers in vases, and the table is laid for a formal meal with several courses.
His bedroom was fitted with electric lights and fans.
While this is the first time Kate has travelled on the train, Meghan Markle had a trip on it just a few weeks after her royal wedding.
The Queen invited her to travel with her to Chester, where they carried out a day of engagements together in 2018.
Wills has travelled on it a number of times, notably to Althorp for the burial of his mother Diana, Princess of Wales in 1997.
As they boarded the train to begin their trip last night, Kate and William were serenaded by Shakin’ Stevens – who performed Merry Christmas Everyone at Euston to give them a festive send off.
The Duchess, wearing an Alexander McQueen coat and tartan scarf, tapped her foot and swayed to the music as they waved to passengers from a balcony.
A palace source said: “This is a hugely exciting moment for the Duke and Duchess who will be travelling on the train together for the first time.
“This trip is their way of saying thank you, on behalf of the nation. They realise it’s been an incredibly tough and challenging year.”