The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have been accused of breaking the UK ‘rule of six’ restrictions during a meet-up with Prince Edward and his family at Sandringham Estate on Sunday night.
William, Kate and children Prince George, seven, Princess Charlotte, five and Prince Louis, two were snapped on a Christmas-themed woodland walk with the Princes’ Uncle, his wife Sophie and their two children, Lady Louise Windsor, 17 and James Viscount Severn, 13 at the Queen’s Norfolk residence.
The group were visiting Luminate, which is a mile-long attraction open to the public illuminated by musical displays and fairy lights. The latest lockdown rules in the UK state that only six people – which includes children – can meet up outdoors if they are not from the same household or support bubble.
A shocked member of the public, who captured the photos of the group, told the Daily Mail they’d seen the families “mingling” several times, while another witness said they were “clearly breaking COVID rules.” He went on to say it was obvious the “royal youngsters were having a great time. I couldn’t help thinking that it was one rule for them and another for the rest of us. It was really quite blatant.”
One photograph shows the party of nine, followed by bodyguards, walking together. Meanwhile, another pic surfaced of William holding hands with George and Charlotte, strolling alongside Sophie, James and Louise.
Monday night, royal sources told the Daily Mail that any contact was inadvertent: “The two families were given separate consecutive slots to visit the trail just before it opened to the general public. They arrived and departed in their own family groups. As anyone with young children will know, there were moments on the 90-minute walk where it was difficult to keep the two family groups apart, particularly at bottlenecks on the trail.”
The penalty notice for breaking rules in the UK is a fine of £200 for the first offence, doubling for each further offence up to £6,400.
The palace has no comment.