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Prince William has been in Scotland since Friday carrying out a series of engagements in his role as Lord High Commissioner to the Church of Scotland. And today, he was joined by wife Kate as they prepare to take a trip down memory lane later this week to visit St Andrews University, where they first met 20 years ago.
The couple, who are officially known as the Earl and Countess of Strathearn in Scotland, began their first day of joint engagements with a visit to a social care charity. They spoke to people working with charity Turning Point Scotland at their center in North Lanarkshire. Kate chose a bright blue outfit—the color of the national flag of Scotland—with a blazer from Zara and a skirt by clothing brand Hope.
CEO of Turning Point Scotland, Neil Richardson, said that the couple were clearly "very well-tuned into" how the organization supports people with mental health challenges and some of the barriers that they face. "I think they recognized a lot of what they heard today," he said. Turning Point Scotland is the country's leading social care provider and helps people with challenges including homelessness, mental ill health, and substance abuse, as well as aiming to break down cycles of crime and addiction.
"They came over as very relaxed, very personable," said Richardson. "Everyone commented on it afterwards, they were just lovely people...I think this will give the whole organization a real lift, partly that they have taken the time and the interest to come and spend some time with us, but also it's an endorsement that what we are doing matters and that it is valued. And in social care that's not always the case, staff often get treated pretty poorly. So it really counts for an awful lot."
Kensington Palace shared in a statement about the visit: "Over the past ten years, through her official engagements and charitable work, The Duchess of Cambridge has gained an understanding that the root causes of adverse challenges, including addiction, can very often be traced back to the earliest years of a person’s life, and have an impact over generations."
William and Kate will be in Scotland until Thursday, with Kensington Palace saying they were looking forward to meeting “a wide variety of people from across the country as well as charities and organizations who are doing incredible work on issues such as the environment, mental health, homelessness and addiction.”
On Sunday, William was given tartan gifts for Kate and their three children during a visit to the Grassmarket Community Project, which supports vulnerable people through social enterprise. The children were given stuffed dogs and the Duchess's gift was a brooch in the shape of a rose made from Greyfriars tartan fabric.
Last Friday, the Prince made a speech about his love of Scotland and the many memories he has of spending time there. Sharing that the country “will always have a special place in my heart,” he recalled visits as a small boy with his family. He described his “saddest” memory of being at Balmoral when he found out about the death of his mother, and also spoke of his happiness at meeting Kate at university in St Andrews 20 years ago. The couple will return there on Wednesday where they will speak with students and join in a session of land yachting on the beach. The tour of Scotland will also see them travel to the Orkney Islands off the northeast coast of the country.
The tour has been described as a "charm offensive" amidst calls for a second referendum on Scottish independence.
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