THE Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have been accused of breaking coronavirus ‘rule of six’ guidelines.
Prince William and Kate, along with their three children are said to have ‘”mingled” with Prince Edward and his family at Sandringham.
The royal catch up saw William, Kate, Prince George, seven, Princess Charlotte, five, and Prince Louis, two, attend a public attraction – which was also visited by the Earl of Wessex, his wife Sophie, and their children Lady Louise Windsor, 17, and 13-year-old James Viscount Severn.
The extended family were visiting Luminate, a Christmas-themed woodland walk at the Queen’s Norfolk residence, along with members of the public on Sunday evening.
Both parties arrived separately, with royal sources adamant there was no intention of meeting up as a collective party of nine.
But the Daily Mail report that as the royals made their way around the mile-long, one-way illuminated trail, the two families were seen and photographed mixing and chatting on several occasions – albeit sticking to social distancing.
The Queen’s Norfolk residence is covered by Tier Two guidelines, which mean only six people – including children – can meet outdoors if they are not from the same household or support bubble.
The rules 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.
Those who break the rules can be faced with police fines – a fixed penalty notice of £200 for the first offence, doubling for each further offence up to £6,400.
One member of the public, who snapped the families on their phone, told the Mail they had seen the families “mingling” several times.
One photo captured the party of nine, followed by bodyguards, walking in a group together.
William is at at the front carrying Louis on his shoulders with George at his side.
Kate is seen with Charlotte and Sophie, who has James following behind her.
The Earl of Wessex and his daughter Louise are seen walking in the rear of the group.
Another picture shows William, holding hands with George and Charlotte, walking alongside Sophie, James and Louise.
A visitor who saw the group said: “They were clearly breaking Covid rules, in my opinion, because there were nine of them from two separate households.”
“They were obviously all having a fun evening out. You could tell that the royal youngsters were having a great time.”
“But I couldn’t help thinking that it was one rule for them and another for the rest of us. It was really quite blatant.”
Last night, royal sources suggested that any contact not intentional.
They 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.”
The Cambridges have been staying at Anmer Hall on the Sandringham estate for the last ten days.
They had planned to spend the festive season with Kate’s family in Berkshire, but were unable to due to the pandemic.
The young family instead travelled to Anmer before Tier Three and Tier Four rules were introduced preventing non-essential travel from London, where they live at Kensington Palace.
Edward and his family travelled to Norfolk from their home at Bagshot Park in Surrey.