The Duchess of Cambridge has said she is “amazed” by the “breathtaking” V&A Dundee as she and her husband formally opened the building.
William and Kate, known as the Earl and Countess of Strathearn when in Scotland, were met by V&A Dundee director Philip Long before entering the £80 million museum for a tour.
The first V&A museum anywhere in the world outside London, the building designed by Japanese architect Kengo Kuma on the banks of the River Tay is the centrepiece of an ongoing £1 billion regeneration of Dundee’s waterfront.
The couple were introduced to Mr Kuma, who talked them through the inspiration for his award-winning design.
William, wearing a navy blue suit, then accompanied his wife at a sit-down with young people who help design activities at the museum.
They were later led into the Scottish Design Galleries where Kate admired a 2015 dress designed by Christopher Kane and viewed Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s Oak Room.
At the end of the tour, the duchess, royal patron of V&A, gave a speech to guests before declaring the museum officially open.
Kate, who was wearing a coat by McQueen in a Black Watch-style design, said: “I have been amazed by the breathtaking architecture and the sheer range of design on display.
“Most of all, I’ve been moved by the passion of the people who work here and the dedication of all those who have helped make this important project succeed.”
She said everyone involved deserved “enormous credit”.
The duchess added: “I hope that this museum will serve as an inspiration to others, showing how great things can be achieved when different communities all pull together. With this thought in mind, I’m pleased to declare V&A Dundee officially open.”
Joined by the duke, she unveiled a plaque before they left the museum to greet members of the public who cheered the couple.
Mr Long said: “The Duke and Duchess were fascinated to see the museum. They enjoyed seeing the Oak Room, but I think especially they enjoyed speaking to all of the people involved.
“I think a highlight must have been coming outside and meeting people who had come from across Dundee and gave them a cheer.”
He added: “With their connections here – where they met close by in St Andrews – it was important for them to come and see this museum, and they really have shown their support.”
Lord Lieutenant Ian Borthwick, Lord Provost of Dundee, said: “I am delighted to welcome the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to V&A Dundee.
“This magnificent building is continuing to raise the city’s global profile and celebrates Scotland’s rich cultural heritage.
“Dundee is a Unesco City of Design, a place where culture is helping to transform people’s lives. This museum has already brought huge benefits to the city of Dundee.”
During the tour Kate met Raksinda Saber Ali, a local woman who is training to be a museum guide, giving tours in Urdu and Punjabi.
It is a project from the Dundee-based Amina Muslim Women’s Resource Centre, which is working with the museum to deliver tours for different communities in their native languages.
The trainee guide said: “It was great to meet the duchess, she was really chatty and interested. She thought the project was a great idea.
“Some people don’t understand the attraction of the museum, what’s so interesting about it. So if you bring them in, and tell them how old some of these items are, or about the design, they can connect to it more, rather than it just being objects to them.”
The duke meanwhile met Simon Meek, V&A Dundee’s designer in residence and creator of the Bafta award-winning video game Beckett.
William said: “It looks fantastic. It’s all about playing with perceptions of reality, which is what video games are all about.”
Later, the couple met employees and their families from a tyre factory which is to cease production.
Michelin announced in November that the plant, which employs 845 workers, would stop production by mid-2020.