Welsh Health Minister Vaughan Gething has criticised the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s decision to travel to Wales as Covid cases rise, saying he would prefer it if “no-one was having unnecessary visits”. Mr Gething said he was not “particularly bothered or interested” when asked if he thought the couple should still travel to Wales.
But he said William and Kate’s visit, part of a national tour by royal train, should not be used by people as an “excuse” to say they are “confused” about coronavirus regulations.
Mr Gething echoed the sentiment of Scotland’s First Nicola Sturgeon, who suggested the duke and duchess travelled to Edinburgh on Monday despite their office being made aware of restrictions for those wanting to cross the border.
The couple began their trip to Wales by visiting Cardiff Castle, where they met university students and heard about the mental health challenges they faced during the pandemic.
Asked if it was the right moment for the royals to visit Wales, the Welsh Health Minister replied: “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.”
When asked if they should still come, Mr Gething said: “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’.”
The duke and duchess have been touring the country thanking key and frontline workers and communities for their efforts during the pandemic.
At Cardiff Castle William and Kate, who wore a red Alexander McQueen coat, met students from Cardiff University, Cardiff Metropolitan University and the University of South Wales, as they unwrapped their Secret Santa gifts to one another.
The visit coincided with Christmas at the Castle, a festival of festive activities there throughout December.
William and Kate browsed some of the Christmas stalls and toasted large marshmallows over a fire.
Touching one of the sticky sweet treats with her gloved hand, Kate laughed and said: “I’m going to have that marshmallow on my fingers all day.”