Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has suggested the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge travelled to Edinburgh despite their office being made aware of restrictions on cross-border movement.

Ms Sturgeon appeared to give a frosty reception to the royal couple who brought Christmas cheer north of the border as they thanked frontline workers for persevering during the pandemic.

Kate and William meet ambulance workers
Kate and William meet ambulance workers (Wattie Cheung/PA)

William and Kate met ambulance staff in Newbridge, near Edinburgh, during their first engagement on a 1,250-mile morale-boosting festive trip on the royal train.

Later, just across the border at Holy Trinity First School in Berwick-upon-Tweed, Northumberland, the couple arranged for a special treat for pupils – a visit from three reindeer, Chaz, Crackers and her six-month-old calf Echols.

During her daily coronavirus briefing, Ms Sturgeon was asked about claims that the duke and duchess’s visit to Edinburgh was in breach of cross-border travel restrictions.

She said: “The royal visit is a matter for the royal household and the arrangements around it, and any questions about those arrangements, should be directed to the royal household.

“The Scottish Government was advised about the intention to visit, and we made sure that the royal household were aware, as you would expect, of all of the restrictions in place in Scotland, so that could inform both the decision and the planning of the visit.

“But I think any questions about that should be directed to the royal household.”

Nicola Sturgeon
Nicola Sturgeon (Russell Cheyne/PA)

She was also asked whether the trip would help boost morale, but made no reference to this question in her response.

Under current Scottish regulations, it is illegal to travel between England and Scotland unless you have a reasonable excuse.

There are exceptions, including travel for work or to provide voluntary or charitable services, but only when this cannot be done from home.

Royal sources said the visits were planned in consultation with the UK, Scottish and Welsh governments.

They stressed that travelling across the border is permitted for work purposes, and that the duke and duchess went to Scotland to carry out their work thanking frontline workers.