The National:

FIRST the good news. The Cambridges didn’t do a Ferrier and travel on public transport. The need doesn’t arise when Granny lets you play with her train set.

Neither William nor the missus has had a positive Covid test and, having apparently had it before anyway, won’t be short of upmarket antibodies. So we’re not talking regal superspreaders here.

No, the problem was that none of the lieges are currently allowed to travel into high tier towns, most especially those coming from across the Border. So there was a bit of the old “one law for them and one for the plebs” coming across on social media.

Truth to tell, some of the twitterati seemed more exercised about Wills carelessly slinging a Stewart tartan scarf round the royal neck when he should have changed into the Strathearn variety as soon as the choo choo passed Berwick-on-Tweed and he was instantly transformed from an English Duke into a Scottish Earl. Something to do with the wrong kind of genes on the line.

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Now, the First Minister’s daily coronavirus briefing is regularly used by the fourth estate as a way to stir up some non-existent stushie, but this time they were able to package it as a genuine Covid inquiry, rather than an entirely shameless bid for a hostile news line: Wasn’t she black affrontit at Her Maj’s grandweans flouting ScotGov instructions? (I paraphrase).

The First Minister, whose head very definitely doesn’t button up the back, has a well developed bullshit detector, and it didn’t let her down.

Spotting the banana skin almost before it was deployed, she parried a query about the royals busting the regs with some coyly anodyne comment about it all being “a matter for the royal household” whose card had apparently been marked.

In fact, Number 10 came away with much the same line, until someone told them what they had meant to say was that it was a marvellous gesture, by a marvellous couple, spreading marvellous cheer amongst the dreadful gloom.

And there the matter might have lain and quietly festered but for being seized upon by Tories and Tory columnists as further evidence that the ungrateful Jocks need to be put back in their box.

First among whingers was the Daily Mail’s fragrant Sarah Vine, who complained about Nicola Sturgeon’s grumpy lack of graciousness.

Doubtless Ms Vine, who doubles as Mrs Michael Gove, would have preferred the FM to have popped down to Waverley scattering rose petals before the arrivals and dropping the deepest of curtseys. After all she has nothing much else to do these days.

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The game was rather given away by the raft of spokespeople anxious to turn up before a microphone to insist that this was no kind of jolly; the royals were at work. A noun which enjoys a somewhat elastic interpretation. The need for this emphasis may have underlined the fact this might have been one piece of palace PR which would have benefitted from a little more research.

I gather the welcome was rather kept in the hillsides in Wales too, another part of the still united kingdom which is a wee bit preoccupied with keeping down the body count. To be fair, it’s not the Cambridges’ fault that everywhere they go everything stops in order to have otherwise normal people feeling obliged to undertake some bowing and scraping. The fault lies with the plotline, not the character actors.

Just at the moment, people are anxious to have The Crown (from Netflix) promoted as a drama rather than any kind of documentary. Nobody must confuse it with real life, they say. A bit like the royal train trip, really.