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Why William and Kate’s visit to Dundee marks new Royal approach

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will visit Dundee today. Credit: Press Association

Much about today’s visit to Dundee by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge is straight out of the royal rulebook.

As Patron of the V&A, Kate will officially mark the opening of the new design museum on the banks of the River Tay.

She’ll make a speech, she'll commend the regeneration of the city’s waterfront and I dare say there will be a plaque nestled behind a pair of curtains somewhere.

William and Kate will also go on a walkabout afterwards and meet members of the public, talk about the children and receive flowers.

So far, so very predictable, you might say.

The Duke and Duchess will visit a tyre factory earmarked for closure. Credit: Press Association

But then the Duke and Duchess will do something that I’ve not seen a senior member of the Royal Family do since I started reporting this brief nearly two years ago.

William and Kate will visit a factory which has been earmarked for closure where 850 people are facing redundancy.

The Michelin factory in Dundee makes tyres which are no longer needed, according to the company.

Last year, Michelin announced it would close the plant in the middle of 2020.

Clearly, it was a huge blow to the workforce here and a set back for Dundee’s economy.

William will make a short speech at the site and then the royal couple will attend a meeting of Michelin Action Group which is looking to find a new use for the factory and save as many jobs as they can.

William and Kate will hear about what it’s been like to live under the cloud of uncertainty caused by Michelin’s announcement.

And this won’t be a one off.

The Duchess of Cambridge will make a speech during her visit to the V&A Dundee. Credit: Press Association

Kensington Palace wants to do this sort of visit more often, particularly as William and Kate, along with Harry and Meghan, have campaigned for better understanding of the variety of causes of mental health problems.

There is much to commend Dundee to visitors but whatever steps forward this city took with the opening of V&A Dundee and the regeneration of its waterfront, the prospect of losing so many good jobs will set this place back.

That two senior royals should want to hear about tough times facing a group of workers - as well as celebrate British success - is a welcome step.

Lessons from history show us that the better the Royals connect with all citizens, in all walks of life, facing good times and bad - the better they will understand the people of the UK, on whose support the institution of Monarchy ultimately relies.