The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were accused of accidentally breaking the "Six Rules" after meeting Prince Edward and his family in Sandringham.
William and Kate, along with their children Prince George (seven), Princess Charlotte (five) and Prince Louis (two), are said to have mixed up with the Prince's uncle, his wife Sophie and their children Lady Louise Windsor (17) and Lady Louise Windsor “Have 13 year old James Viscount Severn at a public attraction.
The two groups attended Luminate, a Christmas-themed forest walk at the Queen & # 39; s Norfolk residence, along with members of the public on Sunday evening.
Both arrived separately, with royal sources insisting it was not intended to meet as a group of nine.
But as they moved in one direction along the kilometer-long, lighted path, the two families were seen mixing and chatting and photographed several times, despite keeping social distance.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were accused of accidentally breaking the "Six Rules" after meeting Prince Edward and his family in Sandringham. Image from left: Sophie Wessex, Viscount Severn, Lady Louise, Princess Charlotte, Prince William, Prince George
The two groups attended Luminate, a Christmas-themed woodland walk at the Queen's Sandringham Estate in Norfolk. Image from left: Prince George next to Princess Charlotte, with Princes William and Louis in front of them. Behind them are Kate, Sophie Wessex and Viscount Severn. The final point is Lady Louise and Prince Edward
The Queen's residence in Norfolk is subject to Tier 2 rules, which allow only six people – including children – to meet outdoors unless they come from the same household or support bubble.
The regulations clearly state: “You can see friends and family who you don't live with outdoors with (or who you don't have a support bubble with) in a group of no more than six people outdoors. This limit of six includes children of all ages. & # 39;
They also say police can take action against those who meet in larger groups – a fixed £ 200 fine for the first offense, doubling to £ 6,400 for each subsequent offense.
An astonished member of the public, who snapped at the families on their phone, told the mail they had seen the families mingle several times. One of these photos clearly shows the group of nine, followed by bodyguards walking together in a group.
William is in front, carrying Louis on his shoulders, George by his side. Kate is with Charlotte and Sophie, who are followed by James. The Earl of Wessex and his daughter Louise make up the rear.
Another picture shows William holding hands with George and Charlotte and walking next to Sophie, James and Louise.
A visitor who saw the group said: “In my opinion, they clearly violated the Covid rules because nine of them came from two separate households. They all obviously had a fun evening. You could see the royal youths were having a great time. & # 39;
Both arrived separately, with royal sources insisting it was not intended to meet as a group of nine. Pictured: Prince William wears a flat cap on the illuminated 1 mile walk
A visitor who saw the group said: “In my opinion, they clearly violated the Covid rules because nine of them came from two separate households. They all obviously had a fun evening. You could see the royal youths were having a great time.
Daily mail comment
Some who look at these pictures of celebrity royals seemingly bend the Covid rules as a group of nine may be outraged that such a high profile family is not setting a good example.
Given that it was in the open air and royal sources say the injury was accidental, many others will no doubt be more forgiving.
In either case, the Byzantine complexity of these ever-changing constraints is highlighted. How many of us can really say we understand them all?
“But I couldn't help but think that it was one rule for her and another for the rest of us. It was pretty obvious, really. & # 39;
Last night, royal sources suggested that any contact was unintentional.
They said, “The two families were given separate consecutive places to visit the trail just before it was opened to the general public. They came and went in their own family groups.
"As anyone with young children will know, there were moments on the 90-minute walk when it was difficult to tell the two family groups apart, especially when there were bottlenecks along the way."
William and Kate, both 38, have been living with their children at Comments Hall on the Sandringham Estate for ten days.
They had hoped to spend the festive season in Berkshire with Kate's family, but the pandemic forced them to abandon their plans.
Before the third and fourth tier rules were introduced, they traveled to Remember to prevent unnecessary travel from London, where they live at Kensington Palace.
Edward and his family traveled to Norfolk from their home in Bagshot Park, Surrey.
Family tickets for the Luminate experience cost £ 52. The two groups were given a starting place between 4.15pm and 4.30pm.
The path is lit by music displays with trees lit in different colors and flickering fairies in cages. Several signs remind hikers of the need for social distancing.
The two groups attended Luminate, a Christmas-themed woodland walk at the Queen & # 39; s Norfolk residence, along with members of the public on Sunday evening (stock photo).
Family tickets for the Luminate experience cost £ 52. The two groups were given a starting slot between 4.15pm and 4.30pm (photo in stock)
The path is lit by music displays with trees lit in different colors and flickering fairies in cages. Several signs remind hikers of the need for social distancing (photo in stock)
The Queen's residence in Norfolk (pictured) is subject to Tier 2 rules. This means that only six people – including children – can meet outdoors unless they come from the same household or support bubble (photo in stock).
What are the rules
Did the royals break the rule of six?
According to Tier Two rules, you can see friends and family who you don't live with or who you don't have a support bubble with in a private yard or outdoors.
But the rules say it should only be in a group of no more than six. You specifically state that this limit includes six children of all ages. But many families have shared their confusion and believed that elementary school age children don't count.
Should they have traveled to Norfolk?
The rules here are less clear. According to the government, you should “stay local and avoid traveling outside your region, that is, your village or town or part of a town where possible”. However, there is no law or system of fines that specifically prohibits this.
When both couples left their homes, each was in Tier 2 and was traveling to a different Tier 2 area. Last night the Post was waiting for government confirmation but it didn't seem necessary for either of the families to return home despite the new Tier Four regulations in London and Surrey.
An attraction employee said they joked with George and Charlotte that there were tigers in the forest when they passed.
At another time, the families were seen in a refreshment area, gathering around fire pits to roast marshmallows that they had bought from a stall.
George, in a flat cap and green rubber boots, was also running through a maze.
He was watched by Kate, who wore jeans, ankle boots, a cropped jacket, and a brimmed hat.
William, who also wore a flat hat and rubber boots with a pink scarf over his jacket, was photographed poking his head over the maze.
He was followed by Sophie and Louise, clutching takeaway drinks, and Edward.
Detectives who followed ordered members of the public not to take photos, saying the royals were "on a private visit".
Home Secretary Priti Patel said the rule of six means families shouldn't stop chatting with other families if they run into them on the street.
"The rule of six is about making sure people are conscientious and do not endanger the health of other people," she added when asked if a family of four speaking to another family of four was against Rules would break rules.
However, attorneys have argued that the interpretation is "wrong" as the ban applies to gatherings "operated by a corporation, nonprofit, benevolent or philanthropic entity, or public entity".
There is also a lot of confusion as to whether the rule of six includes young children, which is the case in Tier 2.
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