Published: 18:43, 25 January 2021
| Updated: 19:52, 25 January 2021
The royal family have wished Scots around the globe a happy Burns Night with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s charity sending NHS workers a traditional Scottish treat.
Staff from a Dundee hospital enjoyed a celebration lunch of haggis, neeps and tatties thanks to NHS Charities Together, which William and Kate support as patrons, and Tayside Health Fund.
The Prince of Wales toasted those north of the border in a video message after reciting some of the words of Burns’ famous song Auld Lang Syne, while in separate footage the Duchess of Cornwall read her favourite verse from the poet – My Heart’s In The Highlands.
The Queen’s official Twitter account wished its Scottish followers a happy Burns night, the annual celebration held on the poet’s birthday – January 25, and also posted lines from My Heart’s In The Highlands.
Kate wore a tartan dress as she joined William in recording a video message praising the work of NHS Tayside, which saw 200 of its staff treating coronavirus patients at Ninewells Hospital in Dundee served the traditional Scottish meal.
In their video message, 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.”
Kate, who also wore her Emilia Wickstead tartan dress in 2019 to the Queen’s Buckingham Palace Christmas lunch for the extended royal family, 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.”
In the message, played over lunchtime to a multi-disciplinary Covid-19 response team who work in the dedicated Covid-19 Intensive Care and High Dependency Units at Ninewells Hospital, William, 38, told staff: “We want to say a huge thank you for all of the work you are doing and the sacrifices you are making.
“As a token of our appreciation, we’ve teamed up with NHS Charities Together to provide you with a Haggis dinner.”
Kate, 39, said: “We hope you enjoy it, and look forward to better times together soon,” and the couple wished good health to the staff, saying: “Slainte Mhath!”
Aides declined to say whether William and Kate normally celebrated Burns Night but Scotland holds a special place in their hearts.
The couple, who are known as the Earl and Countess of Strathearn north of the border, met at the University of St Andrews and are regular visitors to the Queen’s Balmoral estate in the Highlands.
The Cambridge’s gesture comes after William and Kate’s royal train trip to Scotland before Christmas, to thank key and frontline workers, provoked veiled criticism from the Scottish Government about its timing while Covid cases were still prevalent and many parts of the UK were subject to strict Covid rules.
Two royal warrant holders, Edinburgh-based food and wine emporium Valvona and Crolla, and the Fisher and Donaldson bakery in Cupar, Fife, donated Burns biscuits and gift boxes to hospital staff at the request of Kensington Palace.
Camilla, who is known by her Scottish title of Duchess of Rothesay when north of the border, recorded her video message for the University of Aberdeen’s virtual Extraordinary Burns Supper event, in her role as the institution’s chancellor.
In the footage, posted on the university’s YouTube account, she praised students and staff for making the celebration possible adding: “I am quite sure, therefore, that the great Bard would have heartily approved of this evening: of its fun and light-heartedness; and also of its compassionate aim of supporting The Development Trust’s work in extremely challenging days.
“Please keep going, stay strong, stay safe – and carry the inspiring spirit of Burns Night with you throughout the year.”