Prince William and wife Kate Middleton twice ignored warnings from the Scotland government not to visit the Highlands during their Royal Train Tour in December.

Emails acquired by The National in Scotland show the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were explicitly informed Nov. 12 and Nov. 16 that Scotland was off limits for travel as a result of the coronavirus. The government of Wales also told the royals and their staff that essential workers only were allowed to travel during lockdown restrictions.

However, William and Middleton visited Edinburgh in Scotland and made a trip to Wales in early December to thank the Scottish Ambulance Service for its work during the pandemic. The duke and duchess said the visits were morale boosting for front line workers.

Kensington Palace said the royals and staff had coordinated with the UK, Scotland and Wales governments.

A household representative told Harper's Bazaar that the couple traveled around the UK for "work purposes" - suggesting it was an essential trip. Sources said that they followed all government guidelines.

After the emails were released Scotland members of parliament criticized the pair. Tommy Sheppard of the Edinburgh East SNP said the emails clearly showed the government "did everything" to dissuade the royals from creating unnecessary risk.

Deidre Brock of Edinburgh North said it was irresponsible for the two to visit eight locations over three days while others remained in lockdown - missing funerals, weddings or meetings with family and friends.

The royal tour attracted additional criticism because it cost taxpayers nearly $83,000 (£60,000).

Following the tour William and Middleton went to Windsor Castle to visit with the Queen, Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall, Princess Anne, Prince Edward and the Countess of Sussex - albeit following social-distancing rules.