This is the route William and Kate may be taking on their royal tour of the UK

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have embarked on a special tour of the UK to thank different communities for their hard work and resilience during the pandemic.

The royal trip will take place over three days and includes stops in Scotland, with the pair having already arrived into Edinburgh on Monday 7 December. 

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William and Kate set off on their journey on 6 December from London Euston station, and it is believed to be Kate’s first official tour by royal train. 

Here’s everything you need to know about the royal train, and where it will be stopping along the way.

Where is the train going?

William and Kate’s prestigious tour commenced from Euston station on the evening of Sunday 6 December.

Their 1,250 mile journey will include 10 different stops in Scotland, England and Wales.

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The train has already arrived in Edinburgh, which was the first stop on the royal tour.

It arrived at Waverley Station on Monday morning at about 9.30am, with William and Kate welcomed by bagpipes playing Santa Claus Is Coming To Town and We Wish You A Merry Christmas.

They will be visiting key workers in the capital to thank them for their pandemic efforts, including staff at the Scottish Ambulance response centre at Newbridge.

Other major UK cities that the tour will take in include Manchester and Cardiff.

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Kensington Palace has said it will not be publishing a full list of the stops on the royal tour, presumably to avoid crowds.

What is the royal tour for?

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will undertake the royal tour to highlight the impact of the pandemic within different communities in the UK.

The trip will shine a light on members of the public that have made an impact, with William and Kate meeting frontline workers, teachers, mental health professionals, care workers and school children to thank them for their services.

It will also celebrate the arts, heritage and live performance sector which has taken a huge hit as a result of the pandemic.

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The pair will visit other venues which have been badly affected by the virus, including care homes, schools and food banks. 

The work of organisations such as NHS Charities Together will also be showcased.

A spokeswoman for Kensington Palace said: "The Duke and Duchess are very much looking forward to shining a spotlight on the incredible work that has been done across the country throughout this difficult year and to sharing their gratitude on behalf of the nation for all those supporting their local communities ahead of the Christmas holidays."

Why is this royal trip special?

William and Kate’s tour is thought to be special because it is the Duchess’ first official journey by royal train. 

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The Duke has used it a number of times, including on the day of the funeral of his mother Diana, Princess of Wales, in 1997.

Travelling on the royal train is thought to be an honour since the Queen is the only person who can approve use of the service.

The train is now rarely used, except from a small number of times a year by the Queen and Prince Charles, because of the huge costs to taxpayers.

How much does a royal train journey cost?

The royal train costs taxpayers a large sum of money each time it is used.

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There were only three trips on the train between 2019 and 2020, including two by Prince Charles and one by the Queen, which cost more than £63,000.

During the Queen’s golden jubilee year in 2002, the royal train was used for more journeys than usual, costing a total of £872,000. 

Servicing the train also costs thousands of pounds at an additional £300,000 a year.

What is the royal train?

The royal family has had its own train since Queen Victoria ruled, with the current train coming into service in 1977 to celebrate Queen Elizabeth II’s silver jubilee. 

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The train has been used in the past for official royal trips, like to the monarch’s official Scottish residence at Balmoral.

It has nine carriages, with an individual space for the Queen and Prince Charles when they travel.

The Queen’s personal carriage includes a bedroom, bathroom, sitting room, desk and dining area, while Prince Charles has a lounge car with a bedroom, bathroom, study and writing desk.

There are other carriages on board for staff, including dining cars and sleeping areas.