The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge looked in their element as they met excited nursery school children in Orkney today.
Prince William, 38, and Kate, 39, were greeted by the youngsters at Kirkwall Marina after a visit to the European Marine Energy Centre on a busy day of royal engagements.
Earlier the couple officially opened the new Balfour Hospital, in Kirkwall, and popped in for tea with the Bichan family to hear more about life in Orkney.
Kate started the day in a £349 Massimo Dutti coat, wide-leg beige trousers, Emmy London heels and a Strathearn tartan scarf but changed into her trusty £190 Seeland hunting jacket and £310 See by Chloe boots for the energy centre visit and marina walkabout.
At one point a confident little boy pointed at the Duchess and asked: ‘Are you the prince?,’ prompting her to lean down and respond: ‘No, I’m not the prince, I’m the Duchess of Cambridge… Lots of people call me Catherine.’
Moving down the row, Kate asked a little girl: ‘Are you a princess?’ When the shy little girl looked down and said ‘no’. Kate continued: ‘Well you look like one in your beautiful pink coat.’
The mother-of-three then turned to the wider group to say: ‘It’s very nice to meet you. Have you been having a look at all the boats?’
At the same time Prince William was busy speaking to the children at the other end of the line – at one point kicking up his feet to compare shoes.
Royal fans! Prince William, 38, and Kate, 39, were greeted by the youngsters outside the European Marine Energy Centre, in Stromness, this afternoon
Busy day: The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge started the day by opening a hospital before moving on to the European Marine Energy Centre, where they met the children
Natural warmth: The couple, who share three children under the age of seven, were in their element as they stopped to speak to the excited schoolchildren along the waterfront
The Duchess of Cambridge leaned down to speak to the schoolchildren who had waited to see the royal couple
Prince William compared shoes with the nursery school children on the visit to the European Marine Energy Centre
The couple looked in their element and shared a joke with some of the youngsters
William and Kate spent several hours in Orkney after travelling from the Palace of Holyroodhouse, in Edinburgh, where they are staying while carrying out a week of engagements in Scotland.
The visit is part of a broader royal charm offensive to help persuade Scotland to resist the demands of nationalists for independence.
The couple’s first stop was Balfour Hospital, which opened its doors in 2019 and replaced the old hospital, which had served the community for 90 years.
The new facility has enabled the repatriation of many NHS services from the Scottish mainland, allowing Orkney’s population to receive most of their healthcare at home.
The new building’s circular design is based on the 5000-year-old Neolithic settlement, Skara Brae, making it a unique reflection of the local landscape in which many historical sites are circles.
Afterwards the couple stopped off at local family, the Bichan, to hear more about life in Orkney over a cup of tea.
Delighted: The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge wave to schoolchildren in Orkney today
The Duchess of Cambridge shared a joke with sailors as they made their way back to shore from the tidal energy machine
Queen of the seas! The Duchess of Cambridge beamed as she made her way back to shore after being taken to see the world’s largest tidal energy turbine, off the coast of Orkney
The royals sat outside on socially distanced garden furniture while chatting to the family.
The final engagement of the day was the European Marine Energy Centre – the only accredited wave and tidal test centre for marine renewable energy in the world.
During the visit William and Kate heard more about EMEC’s role in tackling climate change and supporting the UK’s green recovery, from marine renewable energy generation to green hydrogen production and distribution.
The Duke and Duchess also visited the fuel cell and hydrogen storage trailers at Kirkwall Pier, which take locally produced hydrogen and reconvert it back to electricity, before heading out to sea to see the world’s largest tidal energy turbine.
The couple were shown how the turbine works and were given a cup of whisky to bless the machine.
Enough for a sip? The Duchess of Cambridge is given whisky by CEO Andy Scott (right) to throw overboard to bless the Orbital Marine Power tidal energy turbine at the European Marine Energy Centre, Orkney
The Duke of Cambridge threw the whisky over the side of the vessel to bless the tidal energy turbine in Orkney
The Duchess of Cambridge was unfazed by the blustery sea air as she joined William on board the marine energy turbine
The couple shared a joke on board HMS Puncher during their visit to the Orbital tidal energy turbine in Orkney
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were shown the Orbital Marine Power tidal energy turbine at the European Marine Energy Centre, Orkney
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge had plenty of questions to ask about how the wind turbine works
Back on shore William and Kate – who share three children under the age of seven – looked thrilled to have an opportunity to meet the local schoolchildren.
Prince William has been in Scotland since Friday and Kate Middleton arrived yesterday. They will return to London on Thursday.
The couple kicked off their joint engagements yesterday with a visit to Turning Point Scotland, a social care charity in Coatbridge, North Lanarkshire.
They learned about the support the organisation provides to those facing homelessness, mental health issues and substance abuse.
Later in the afternoon they visited the pioneering Scottish Violence Reduction Unit (SVRU), and learned about the support it provides to community organisations across the country.
In the evening they were joined in the café kitchen at the Palace of Holyroodhouse, where they are staying, by Sikh Sanjog to prepare meals which will be distributed to vulnerable families across the Edinburgh community.
The Duchess, who is styled as the Countess of Strathearn in Scotland, gave a nod to her hosts with a Strathearn tartan scarf from online retailer ScotWeb and £1,395 earrings from local brand Hamilton & Inches
The Duchess of Cambridge, 39, appeared to be all smiles as she arrived for her first engagement of the day in a caramel coat and matching trousers
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge formally opened the hospital, which first opened its doors in 2019
The Duchess of Cambridge wore £1,395 ‘flora drop’ gold earrings from Scottish brand Hamilton & Inches
The Duke of Cambridge shared a light-hearted moment with some of the welcome party outside the hospital
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were on hand to officially open Balfour Hospital, in Kirkwall, and learn more about the pioneering work of the European Marine Energy Centre, as their royal tour of Scotland continued
Kate sported a £59.99 Zara blazer and pleated midi skirt by Hope Fashion in the colour of the Scottish flag, which she accessorised with a pair of £1,395 ‘flora drop’ gold earrings from Scottish brand Hamilton & Inches, which has held a Royal Warrant as silversmiths to Her Majesty the Queen for more than 120 years.
Exact details of their Scottish tour schedule is being kept under wraps but the Duke and Duchess are expected to visit St Andrews University, where they met as students 20 years ago.
The couple will also host a special drive-in screening of Disney’s Cruella for NHS staff, and will join young carers from the local Fife area for a session of land yachting on the beach.
Their visit to Scotland is understood to be part of a wider strategy to emphasise the ‘cultural bonds’ between Scotland and the rest of the union.