The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will travel across the UK by royal train to thank communities, outstanding individuals and key workers for their efforts during the coronavirus pandemic.

Prince William and Kate Middleton will embark on their three-day trip on Sunday to ‘shine a spotlight’ on ‘incredible work’ and ‘share their gratitude’ with inspiring members of the public.

The royals plan to meet care home staff, teachers, schoolchildren and volunteers to learn about the challenges they faced and listen to their inspiring stories.

Their 1,250 mile-journey will include stops in England, Scotland and Wales and will end on Tuesday.

It is believed the tour is the duchess’s first official journey by the royal train, despite having married into the Royal Family back in 2011.

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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.’

Queen Victoria was the first monarch to travel by train, leaving at midday on June 13 1842 from Slough and travelling to London’s Paddington Station.

Victoria was persuaded on board by her husband Prince Albert, a veteran of rail travel who was fascinated by the new technology.

Since the Victorian era, the Royal Family has enjoyed their own dedicated train, with the present royal carriages coming into service for the Queen’s Silver Jubilee in 1977.

The Queen and the Prince of Wales have their own private carriages, with the head of state’s featuring a bedroom with a single bed, sitting room, desk for working on the go, dining quarters – and a bathroom complete with a full-sized bath.

William has travelled on the service a number of times, notably on the day of his mother Diana, Princess of Wales’ funeral in 1997, when he joined his father, brother and the Spencer family on the journey to the princess’s ancestral home Althorp for her burial.

In 2003, he journeyed overnight on the train to Bangor with the Prince of Wales to carry out a day of engagements in North Wales ahead of his 21st birthday.

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