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Prince William and tartan-clad Kate Middleton make surprise appearance for Burns Night

The Duchess of Cambridge wore a tartan dress for the occasion

Danielle Stacey

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge made a surprise appearance on Monday to mark Burns Night, in celebration of Scotland's national bard, Robert Burns.

The couple teamed up with NHS Charities Together and Tayside Health Fund to provide a traditional Burns celebration lunch of haggis, neeps and tatties to 200 staff treating coronavirus patients at Ninewells Hospital in Dundee.

Prince William and Kate appeared in a video message to thank frontline workers from Sandringham, the Queen's Norfolk home, where the Cambridges have been carrying out their work calls.

READ: 7 photos of the royals wearing kilts to celebrate Burns Night

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WATCH: William and Kate share special Burns Night message

Photos of their children could be seen on the desk behind them, including a portrait of Prince George and Princess Charlotte on Charlotte's first day of school in 2019, and Prince Louis with Kate in her Back to Nature garden. 

The Duke, 38, said in the video message: "Hello to everyone at NHS Tayside. We know Burns Night is a special evening for Scots around the world – a time to come together to eat, drink and to celebrate the life and work of Robert Burns."

The Duchess, 39, wearing an apt repeat tartan dress by Emilia Wickstead first worn to the Queen's Christmas lunch in 2019, said: "Sadly this year is a little different. And for many of you working on the frontline, tonight will be a very different occasion, as you work tirelessly through this pandemic to protect the most vulnerable in our society."

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Staff at NHS Tayside with their lunches 

In the message, played over lunchtime to a multi-disciplinary Covid-19 response team who work in the dedicated Covid-19 Intensive Care and High Dependency Units at the hospital, William told staff: "We want to say a huge thank you for all of the work you are doing and the sacrifices you are making.

"As a token of our appreciation, we've teamed up with NHS Charities Together to provide you with a Haggis dinner."

Kate added: "We hope you enjoy it, and look forward to better times together soon."

Both wished good health to the staff, saying: “Slàinte Mhath!”

MORE: Prince William and Kate Middleton visit the Queen's home

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The Cambridges visited Edinburgh on their royal train tour in December

The Cambridges had also arranged for royal warrant holders, Edinburgh-based food and wine emporium Valvona & Crolla, and the Fisher & Donaldson bakery in Cupar, Fife, to donate Burns Biscuits and gift boxes to staff to thank them for all they have been doing.

Grant Archibald, NHS Tayside chief executive, said: "Our staff have now been at the frontline in our response to Covid-19 for more than 300 days and their dedication has been truly awe-inspiring. 

"It means so much to all of our teams across Angus, Dundee and Perth & Kinross to receive this special message of appreciation today which underlines the ongoing, extraordinary efforts of Team Tayside."

Scotland holds a special place in their hearts, as William and Kate first met at the University of St Andrews in 2001 and the couple have made regular visits to the country during their married life.

They are known as the Earl and Countess of Strathearn in Scotland.  

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