Wales health minister joins Nicola Sturgeon in giving William and Kate's train tour a frosty reception

William and Kate have been touring the country thanking key workers. Credit: PA

The sun was out and the air was cold in Cardiff this morning but so too was the reception for William and Kate from one Wales’ most senior ministers. 

The couple had arrived in the Welsh capital on the Royal Train for the third day of their mini tour of Britain to thank key workers – but the Wales Health Minister Vaughan Gething suggested he rather they hadn’t come at all.

The minister said: "I'd rather that no-one was having unnecessary visits and people always have divisive views about the monarchy, but their visit isn't an excuse for people to say that they are confused about what they are being asked to do."

Mr Gething added: "I'm not particularly bothered or interested because I don't think that is going to be an excuse for people to say 'I should go and behave in a different way and I should act as if the harm that is being seen in front of us in every part of our healthcare system is not taking place'."

Wales is suffering from an alarming spike in Covid cases since the Welsh government’s “firebreak” lockdown was lifted. 

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge walk with Lord Lieutenant of South Glamorgan Morfudd Meredith (left) as they arrive at Cardiff. Credit: PA

The Welsh health minister sounded even less enthusiastic than Scotland’s First Minister who yesterday sounded unenthusiastic about the Duke and Duchess arrival in Edinburgh.

Nicola Sturgeon was asked if she thought William and Kate’s visit would “boost morale” with their visit to NHS workers in Scotland.

She replied that it was a “matter for the Royal Household”.

Ms Sturgeon added: “The Scottish Government was advised about the intention to visit, and we made sure that the Royal Household were aware, as you would expect, of the restrictions in place in Scotland so that could inform both the decision and the planning of the visit.”

While Nicola Sturgeon’s SNP party wants Scotland to break away from the United Kingdom, it has always maintained that the Queen would remain the Head of State in an independent Scotland.

But in Wales, Vaughan Gething is from the Labour Party.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge toast marshmallows at the 'Christmas at the Castle' event held at Cardiff Castle. Credit: PA

Labour neither has a policy to abolish the Monarchy nor to make Wales independent from the rest of the United Kingdom so Mr Gething’s comments are perhaps more surprising.

Even William and Kate admitted they were struggling to work out what to do for their own family Christmas plans.

William told students said: “It is so difficult. We are still trying to make plans. It’s difficult to know what to do for the best.”

William and Kate were lent the Royal Train by the Queen for the three-day tour which left London’s Euston station on Sunday after thanking transport workers.

On Monday they travelled to Edinburgh to thank NHS staff, Berwick-upon-Tweed to meet teachers, Batley in Yorkshire to support carers and Manchester to thank volunteers working late into the evening at a foodbank.

Today they have visited students in Cardiff whose studies have been affected by coronavirus and care home staff and residents in Bath.

They have more visits planned before their return to London on Tuesday evening.