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Amid pandemic, Britain's Prince William tours country by train

·1-min read
Britain's Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge visit St. Bartholomew's Hospital in London

LONDON (Reuters) - Prince William and his wife Kate begin a tour of Britain by train on Sunday, meeting frontline workers, care home staff and teachers to thank them for their efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Britain has been the hardest hit country in Europe by COVID-19, with over 60,000 deaths.

William, Queen Elizabeth's grandson and second-in-line to the throne, and Kate will ride the Royal Train, travelling 1,250 miles across England, Scotland and Wales.

"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," Kensington Palace said in a statement.

"(They are also looking forward) 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 reigning monarch to use the Royal Train in 1842, to travel from Slough to London's Paddington station.

(Reporting by Alistair Smout; editing by Guy Faulconbridge and Giles Elgood)