On day two of their mini-tour of Scotland, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge made their first official visit to the northeastern tip of the British Isles

By Simon Perry
May 25, 2021 08:30 AM
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Kate Middleton and Prince William are on the island of Orkney!

The royal couple, who are on a mini-tour of Scotland this week, landed for their first official visit to the remote spot about 310 miles north of the Scottish capital Edinburgh on Tuesday.

They kicked off the morning by officially opening Orkney's new Balfour Hospital in Kirkwall and meeting local National Health Service staff.

Kate, 39, paired her camel-colored Massimo Dutti coat with a scarf in the Strathearn tartan -- a signal of the couple's title in Scotland: the Earl and Countess of Strathearn.

Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge
Kate Middleton and Prince William in Orkney on Tuesday
| Credit: Chris Jackson - WPA Pool/Getty Images
Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge
Kate Middleton today
| Credit: Chris Jackson - WPA Pool/Getty Images

The new hospital has enabled the repatriation of many health services from the Scottish mainland, back to Orkney, meaning that local residents can get most of their healthcare at home. The couple marvelled at the new building's circular design, which is based on the 5000-year-old Neolithic settlement, Skara Brae, and is keeping with the local landscape in which many historical sites are circles. 

Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge
Kate Middleton today
| Credit: Chris Jackson - WPA Pool/Getty Images

Shortly after they arrived on Orkney, they met local dignitaries and an air cadet before moving on to the hospital.

Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge
William and Kate shortly after arriving on Orkney
| Credit: Chris Jackson - WPA Pool/Getty Images

The royal couple then went on to visit the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) – the only accredited wave and tidal test centre for marine renewable energy in the world.

During the visit, they heard about EMEC's leading role in tackling climate change and supporting the U.K.'s green recovery, from marine renewable energy generation to green hydrogen production and distribution. William and Kate will visit the fuel cell and hydrogen storage trailers at Kirkwall Pier before heading out to sea to see the world's largest tidal energy turbine, the 2MW 'O2'.

They are spending most of the day on the island, which sits at the northern tip of Britain, before continuing visits across Scotland until Thursday.

Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge
Kate Middleton and Prince William on Orkney
| Credit: Chris Jackson - WPA Pool/Getty Images

William arrived in Scotland last Friday but Kate joined him on Monday where their first joint outing was to North Lanarkshire where they visited Turning Point, a leading social care charity, to hear about the vital support that's provided to people with complex needs, including addiction and mental health challenges. Later on Monday, Kate, 39, tried her hand at some DJing and the couple also met with members of the Sikh community in Edinburgh.

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Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge
Kate Middleton
| Credit: Chris Jackson/Getty Images

During their visit on Monday, the Duke and Duchess, also joined a video call with staff and service users from TPS' Glasgow Overdose Response Team (GORT), to hear how the service works to reduce drug-related deaths by providing real-time crisis support for people who have experienced a near-fatal overdose.

When they announced the week of visits, a spokesperson at the couple's office at Kensington Palace said William and Kate were "very much looking forward to spending time in Scotland, hearing from a wide range of people on the issues they care about, and celebrating individuals who have gone above and beyond to support their communities over the past year."

In a speech to the Church of Scotland meeting on Saturday, William, 38, talked about how he was going to be listening and learning as he meets people from various walks of life during his time in the country. He also spoke of the sadness of learning of the death of his mother Princess Diana while in Balmoral, but also warmly recalled how he met Kate nearly two decades ago in Scotland.

"Alongside this painful memory, is one of great joy. Because it was here in Scotland – twenty years ago this year – that I first met Catherine," he said of his wife of 10 years.