Kate Middleton and Prince William Go from Bond Premiere to Surprise Visit to Northern Ireland

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are spending the day in the north of Ireland

Kate Middleton and Prince William The Duke And Duchess Of Cambridge Visit Northern Ireland
Kate Middleton and Prince William. Photo: Chris Jackson/Getty Images

Kate Middleton and Prince William are on the move!

The couple arrived in Northern Ireland Wednesday morning for their first joint post-pandemic trip, visiting Derry-Londonderry in a previously unannounced visit. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are meeting with young people and local groups making positive change in the community.

"They will spend the day meeting young people and hearing how organisations are engaging across communities to promote positive relations. It is Their Royal Highnesses' first time in this area of Northern Ireland," their office said in a statement.

Meeting with nursing students and other members of the community at the Ulster University Magee Campus, the royals, both 39, toured the facility to learn more about the important programs there.

The Duke And Duchess Of Cambridge Visit Northern Ireland
Kate Middleton and Prince William. Chris Jackson/Getty Images

Earlier this year, the couple connected with some of the Ulster nursing students via video chat, speaking with them about their studies during the pandemic and essential work on the front lines. Today, they are meeting with some of those same students and will catch up on how their courses have progressed since February.

The Duke And Duchess Of Cambridge Visit Northern Ireland
Chris Jackson/Getty Images

The Derry-Londonderry stop comes after the glamour of Tuesday evening's royal and world premiere of the new James Bond movie, No Time to Die, which the couple attended alongside Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were disappointed not to be able to visit when they made their British tour (by Royal Train!) to thank emergency staff and other frontline workers for their tireless efforts during the height of the coronavirus pandemic. At that point, in December 2020, Northern Ireland was in full lockdown.

The Duke And Duchess Of Cambridge Visit Northern Ireland
Chris Jackson/Getty Images

The rest of the U.K. was to follow soon afterwards when a second wave rocked the region, before vaccinations became increasingly available in the spring.

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The Duke And Duchess Of Cambridge Visit Northern Ireland
Kate Middleton and Prince William. Chris Jackson/Getty Images

William and Kate, who are known in Northern Ireland as Baron and Baroness Carrickfergus — after titles given to them by Queen Elizabeth on their 2011 wedding day — last visited together in February 2019. Kate then headed over there in February 2020 as part of her research on childhood development and care, which also formed a simple survey, called "5 Big Questions on the Under Fives."

William then visited in September 2020, praising the emergency services for their work during the pandemic. On that day, the former air ambulance helicopter pilot spent time with the police, fire service and ambulance crews in Northern Ireland.

<a href="https://people.com/tag/kate-middleton/" data-inlink="true">Kate Middleton</a> and <a href="https://people.com/tag/prince-william/" data-inlink="true">Prince William</a>
Kate Middleton and Prince William.

Later during the day, the duo will see a special simulated ambulance — the only one of its kind in the area — created on campus to train the inaugural class of the BSc Hons Paramedic Science program, established by the university to further foster the development of the paramedic profession in Northern Ireland.

Also on the schedule is a meeting with the first class of medical students accepted into Ulster University's new medical school, notably launched to meet the national shortage of medical professionals amid the global pandemic.

"The new School will develop a new generation of doctors who will work in Northern Ireland and beyond, once their studies are compete. It has received a £1M investment and now boasts high-tech, high-spec facilities," the statement said.

From there, William and Kate will pop into a "Culture Shock" event to chat with students about life on campus outside the classroom and how the university is working to promote an inclusive student body. At the event, the couple will have the chance to sample some of Northern Ireland's traditional fare (whiskey and wheat bread are on the menu!) and listen to music students playing traditional instruments.

For much more on the couple and their 10-year marriage and what the future holds, pick up a copy of PEOPLE Royals, on newsstands now.

The royals, who like to see themselves as unifying presence, are making special efforts to connect with the four nations of the U.K. at the moment. Charles, 72, and Camilla, 74, have been carrying out a number of duties in Scotland in the last few weeks and Queen Elizabeth, 95, is to follow suit in both Scotland and Wales in the coming weeks.

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