Prince William and Kate Middleton Accused of Flouting COVID Rules at Christmas Event

Prince William and Kate Middleton face new claims they flouted coronavirus regulations after meeting up with other royals at a Christmas event.

Photos published in the Daily Mail show the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge alongside Queen Elizabeth II's youngest child Prince Edward and his wife Sophie, Countess of Wessex, who were with their two children.

William and Kate had their children Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis with them, making them a party of nine in total at Luminate, a Christmas light show at Sandringham, the queen's Norfolk estate.

COVID rules in the area restrict outdoor gatherings to six people, including children.

Prince William, Kate Middleton and Children, Theater
Prince William and Kate Middleton with their children—Louis, Charlotte and George—at a special pantomime performance at London's Palladium Theater to thank key workers, on December 11. The Cambridge family recently went to a Christmas light show where they met Prince Edward, his wife Sophie and their two children. Aaron Chown - WPA Pool/Getty

Sandringham is under England's tier 2 restrictions, which state: "You can see friends and family you do not live with (or do not have a support bubble with) outdoors, in a group of no more than six. This limit of six includes children of any age."

The two households can be seen mixing in the pictures, despite rules that social distancing should be kept to two meters.

One photo appears to show Kate and Sophie walking side by side with Charlotte and Sophie's son James, Viscount Severn.

Royal exclusive in tomorrow’s #DailyMail https://t.co/xyut1UuLKE

— Rebecca English (@RE_DailyMail) December 21, 2020

Another shows Prince William holding hands with George and Charlotte in a group with Sophie and her daughter, Lady Louise Windsor.

Breaches of the rules can lead to a penalty of £200 if the police decide to prosecute.

The two families also had royal protection officers with them as they made their way along what the Luminate website describes as a "mesmerising mile long trail, with stunning lighting elements and fabulous light play, all set to ambient music."

A royal source said: "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."

This is just the latest in a series of coronavirus blunders by the royal family after Princess Beatrice was photographed out for dinner with other households in London, even as rising cases were leading the capital back into lockdown.

Royal sources suggested the dinner was a work meeting, although the guests included Beatrice's fashion designer friend Peter Dundas and it was around the time of his birthday.

William and Kate were also criticized for crossing the border into first Scotland, then Wales during a royal train tour of Britain to thank frontline workers.

Travel restrictions in place at the time prohibited unnecessary border crossings, though the royals said they were using an exception covering work trips.

Prince William has also faced criticism for keeping his coronavirus diagnosis secret even as politicians and celebrities around the world made theirs public.

Luminate's COVID policy states: "Visitors must stay within groups of no more than 6 throughout their visit (unless you are in a support bubble and/or your household group exceeds 6)."

It adds: "All attending will be reminded via on-site signage to kindly maintain their distance from other groups throughout their visit."