Royal Family news: ‘Guidance is clear!’ Priti Patel wades into Kate and William Covid row | Royal | News


Kate Middleton and Prince William give thanks to key workers

Kate, 38, and William, 38, and their three children were pictured at an outdoor Christmas-themed attraction at the Sandringham Estate on Sunday and appeared to break the rule of six with Prince Edward, Sophie, the Countess of Wessex and their two children. Kate, William, Prince George, 7, Princess Charlotte, 5, and Prince Louis, 2, were said to have “mingled” with another group of four – including Edward, 56, Sophie, 55, Lady Louise Windsor, 17, and James Viscount Severn, 13.

The two families were spotted walking around Luminate – a Christmas-themed woodland walk at the Queen’s Norfolk residence – which was also open to members of the public.

Both arrived and departed separately and royal sources insisted they had no plans to meet up as a party of nine, the Daily Mail reports.

Norfolk is covered by Tier 2 restrictions meaning people can see friends and family they do not live with outdoors, in a group of no more than six – this includes children of any age.

The Home Secretary was confronted by ITV News today with pictures of the royals at Sandringham and reminded everyone of the guidelines.

When shown images on a mobile phone, Ms Patel said: “That is the first time I am seeing this.”

Kate and William

Royal Family live: Kate and William have been defended on social media (Image: GETTY)

She refused to make a judgement on whether they had fallen foul of the rules and went on to stress everyone has their part to play in defeating COVID-19.

Ms Patel added: “I don’t know when that was, you might want to tell more details, but the fact of the matter is, I would say to everybody right now, particularly we’re here in London, London is a Tier 4 location, you know the rules and the guidance is very clear. We want people to stay at home, we are advising people to stay at home and to not go out and socialise.

“Family bubbles and obviously support bubbles, there are exemptions around  that, the fact of the matter is right now in Tier 4 and also now across the rest of the country we are now seeing with this new strain of coronavirus, we need to make sure we look after each other and protect each other.”

A royal source insisted any contact between the two households was unintentional.

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.”

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William and Kate

Prince Edward, Sophie, William and Kate at Windsor Castle earlier this month (Image: GETTY)

Wednesday, December 23

2:30am update: Prince Edward and family left for Norfolk before Covid restrictions 

Prince Edward and his wife Sophie, Countess of Wessex, left for Norfolk before Tier 4 coronavirus restrictions came into effect according to a royal insider. 

The couple usually live at Bagshot Park in Surrey, which went into Tier 4 lockdown on Sunday. 

A royal insider claimed the family left Surrey before the new restrictions came into effect and so did not breach the rules. 

On Sunday night Prince Edward and his family were pictured attending Sandringham Estate’s Luminate event – an outdoor light trail around the stately home’s gardens. 

1:00am update: Royal commentators demand Harry and Meghan lose titles

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex should lose their royal titles according to a number of commentators. 

It follows controversy about their commercial interests and political statements around the 2020 US Presidential Election. 

Eve, co-host of the Heir Heads podcast, commented: “A year on from Harry and Meghan stepping back from the Royal Family they will have their roles reviewed.

“I guess the door is open for them to come back but ****ing fat chance of that happening.

“But I am very interested to see if they will be stripped of their titles or what I would hope they would do is to hand them back.”

Her co-presenter Tom added: “I think they’ve proved that they don’t need them.

“I feel like it would be freeing for them and they would suddenly have even more avenues open to them and that chain they’re kept on will be gone.”

The Daily Mirror’s Kevin Maguire also argued the titles are unnecessary. 

Speaking to ITV’s Good Morning Britain, Mr Maguire said: “All these ludicrous titles should go anyway.

“It’s not just this rather gruesome pair, it’s everybody else with these titles.”

James Bickerton takes over live reporting from Emily Ferguson

Tuesday, December 22

10.20pm update: Meghan Markle and Prince Harry ‘drip-feeding press’ with content, says expert

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry have been criticised for “drip-feeding” information to the press despite having stepped down as royals to have privacy.

Royal expert Dickie Arbiter said it is “extraordinary” that the couple are making these appearances after wanting privacy.

Speaking to True Royalty TV’s Royal Beat, Mr Arbiter said: “I find it extraordinary that two people who left basically because they felt press intrusion and yet in the past 12 months we’ve had nothing but drip-feeding the press about things that they’re doing.”

Royal expert Dan Wootton added: “It’s hard to believe that Megxit happened this year.

“The world has obviously gone through so much and also this couple has completely transformed.”

9.15pm update: Eugenie’s Frogmore exit ‘not unexpected’ as Princess struck special deal with cousin Harry

Princess Eugenie’s hasty moving in and out of Frogmore Cottage has raised questions over the royal’s plans for her family home as commentators revealed the exit may have been part of an “arrangement” with Prince Harry.

Prince Harry would have known about Princess Eugenie’s plans in regard to Frogmore Cottage beforehand, royal commentators have insisted. Eugenie has reportedly already moved out of the Sussexes’ Windsor property just six weeks after initially moving in with her husband, Jack Brooksbank. Royally Obsessed podcast hosts Roberta Fiorito and Rachel Bowie discussed why this “mysterious exit” may have come about.

Ms Fiorito told listeners: “We just recently talked about Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank moving to Frogmore Cottage.

“Well apparently they were there for six weeks, and they’ve moved out or temporarily left.

“We don’t really know, the details are super spotty. But they’ve moved back to Ivy Cottage at Kensington Palace.”

kate middleton prince william christmas card

Kensington Palace released their Christmas card photo last year (Image: Kensington Palace)

8.30pm update: Prince Charles issues heartfelt thanks to British Armed Forces in new Christmas video

Prince Charles has sent a Christmas message to service personnel as he thanked them for their work this year during the coronavirus pandemic.

Prince Charles, 71, delivered a heartfelt Christmas message to military personnel for their work in 2020. The Duke of Cornwall thanked them for their exemplary commitment to ensuring public safety.

In the video message, Charles said: “Despite all the trial and tribulations faced in the UK this year, I’m only too aware that you’ve also managed to continue your routine business through the execution of essential training, operational deployments, and safeguarding the integrity of critical elements of our defence at home and overseas.

“Activity which all too often goes unnoticed but it absolutely vital to our national security and has, I realise, been especially challenging this year.

“In doing all this, I am conscious of the fact that is has, in many cases, meant longer spells of being separated from your families and extended period of isolation and deployment.”

7.18pm update: Sophie Wessex, Edward, Lady Louise and James escaped Tier 4 restrictions just in time

Sophie, Countess of Wessex, and Prince Edward raised eyebrows after they were spotted out at Sandringham at the weekend with their two children Lady Louise and James.

According to a royal insider, the Wessex family travelled to Norfolk just before Tier 4 restrictions came into force.

Sophie, Edward, Lady Louise and James were snapped visiting Sandringham Estate’s Luminate event – an outdoor light trail in the stately home’s grounds on Sunday night.

Usually, the Wessex family are based at Bagshot Park in Surrey, an area which has been under Tier 4 restrictions since Sunday morning.

A royal insider confirmed that Sophie, Edward and their two children left Surrey for Sandringham ahead of Tier 4 coming into force and did therefore not breach the new restrictions.

Whether or not the Wessexes returned to Bagshot Park following their Sandringham jaunt has not been confirmed.

Royal Family

An extended map of the Royal Family (Image: EXPRESS)

6.10pm update: Sweden’s Princess Sofia honours country’s heroes after King slammed handling of pandemic

Sweden’s Princess Sofia paid tribute to the country’s healthcare workers during a poignant award ceremony.

Princess Sofia delivered a heartfelt message during the Swedish Heroes of 2020 gala awards ceremony. The gala takes place every year in Sweden to pay tribute to people across the country who have distinguished themselves for their behaviour or actions throughout the year.

This year, the princess said, healthcare workers and all those people who have been supporting the country during the ongoing pandemic are to commend.

The royal who also served as a jury member of the gala, said: “I’m so incredibly impressed.

“To me, all of you in Swedish healthcare are real heroes, and I want to thank you for everything you have done and continue to do every day.”

5.22pm update: Queen Letizia and King Felipe ‘hidden’ by Sanchez during Barcelona visit, opposition claim

Spain’s Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez has come under fire after the country’s main opposition party accused the Government of “hiding” a royal visit to Catalonia.

Queen Letizia and King Felipe V attended a small and socially-distanced reception at the Albeniz Palace in Barcelona yesterday.

During the event, the couple presented the prestigious Cervantes Prize for Literature in the Castilian language to poet and architect Joan Margarit.

Despite being considered one of the most important prizes for literature in Spain, the attendance of the Queen and King to this ceremony came as a surprise.

The visit to Barcelona was only announced once the royal couple had arrived at their destination.

However, the Spanish Royal Family usually publish their diary for the week ahead on Friday.

This delay in announcing King Felipe and Queen Letizia’s visit to Catalonia was met with criticism by the leader of the biggest opposition party in Spain.

Pablo Casado Bianco, the leader of the conservative People’s Party, wrote on Twitter earlier today: “In order not to disturb its pro-independence partners, the Government is even capable of hiding the royals when they travel to Catalonia…”

4.27pm update: Queen tipped to pay tribute to one of her grandchildren in anticipated Christmas speech

Queen Elizabeth II may choose to pay tribute to one of her grandchildren during this year’s Christmas speech – but her address will not be focused on family, a royal expert has said.

The Queen could pay homage to the wedding of Princess Beatrice and Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi on Christmas Day by placing their picture on her desk while delivering her annual speech, according to a royal commentator.

Richard Fitzwilliams told “I doubt that this year there will be much about her family and Harry and Meghan’s stepping down as senior working royals in January is unlikely to feature.

“There may well be a photograph from Beatrice’s wedding in July.”

The eldest daughter of Sarah Ferguson and Prince Andrew was due to marry property tycoon Edoardo in May, but the coronavirus pandemic and regulations in place forced the couple to postpone their nuptials.

The wedding, which was already meant to be a private affair, was celebrated on July 17 in front of only a handful of guests – including the Queen and Prince Philip.

3.33pm update: Queen gives control of Sandringham to Charles after estate caught with ‘illegal’ traps

The Queen is allowing her son, Prince Charles, to take over the running of the royal Sandringham estate amid controversy surrounding the use of “illegal” traps on local wildlife.

Reports that traps on the Royal Family’s Sandringham estate have killed an endangered owl have been met with fury.

The Queen, who is currently running the working estate, has been accused of harbouring “illegal” traps, leading the police to investigate the issue.

Royal Rota podcast hosts Chris Ship and Lizzie Robinson discussed the incident, adding that Prince Charles is set to take control.

Mr Ship told listeners: “The Queen does run an estate in Sandringham, and that’s a working estate, as Buckingham Palace tell us. On that working estate, they have traps to protect the game birds, the pheasants and the partridge.

“Those traps have caught an owl, which is a protected species. The traps killed it so the police have had to look into this whole issue.”

Emily Ferguson has taken over live reporting from Luke Hawker

2.45pm update: Priti Patel reminds everybody of the rules after being shown pics of royals at Sandringham

Priti Patel reminds everybody of the rules when confronted with pictures of Kate and Prince William appearing to break the coronavirus rule of six.

Speaking to ITV News, she said:  “I don’t know when that was, you might want to tell more details, but the fact of the matter is, I would say to everybody right now, particularly we’re here in London, London is a Tier 4 location, you know the rules and the guidance is very clear.

“We want people to stay at home, we are advising people to stay at home and to not go out anf socialise.

“Family bubbles and obviously support bubbles, there are exemptions around  that, the fact of the matter is right now in Tier 4 and also now across the rest of the country we are now seeing with this new strain of coronavirus, we need to make sure we look after each other and protect each other.”

Meghan and Harry

Meghan and Harry are currently living in LA (Image: GETTY)

1.20pm update: Meghan Markle and Harry ‘see their future in the US’ after lucrative deals

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry are set to stay in the US, a royal commentator has said after the Duke and Duchess of Sussex unveiled their profitable deals.

Royal commentator Richard Fitzwilliams said: “It has become clear that, having relocated to Los Angeles, that they see their future in the US.

“They achieved financial independence with a substantial deal with Netflix and another with Spotify for podcasts.”

READ MORE: No way back! Meghan Markle and Harry ‘see their future in the US’ after lucrative deals

12.00pm update: Kate and William made ‘drastic Christmas decision’ to put George and Charlotte first

Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge and Prince William made a “drastic Christmas decision” to put Prince George and Princess Charlotte first when deciding where to spend the festive period, reports claim.

Kate and William have received a wave of backlash after they were accused of breaking the lockdown rule of six with Prince Edward’s family.

However, this is not the only time Kate and William’s Christmas decisions with their children have been called into question.

They stunned royal watchers when they decided to spend Christmas with Kate’s family, the Middletons in Bucklebury in 2016, rather than with the rest of the royals in Sandringham, as tradition dictates.

Parenting expert, Lisa Clegg, speculated: “The decision has been made out of a desire to put George and Charlotte first.”

Prince William: Charlotte ‘let go’ of father’s hand says expert

10.45am update: Kate Middleton’s ‘romantic’ ring from Prince William has ‘very personal hidden message’

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, have been married for nearly 10 years. While they were dating, the Prince William gave Kate a ring that showed his commitment many years before they tied the knot.

Kate  and William began dating while at the University of St Andrews. While at university the Duchess of Cambridge was given a ring with a sweet hidden meaning, a style expert explained.

The jewel featured pearl and garnet gems set on a rose gold band.

The Duchess of Cambridge wore the piece on her graduation day, CEO of LeVian Eddie LeVian stated.

He said: This beautiful, delicate ring is understated in style.

“However, the very personal message hidden within it from a future King makes it an enormously romantic royal jewel.

“William gifted Kate this Victorian rose gold band encrusted with pearls and garnets, while they were still at the University of St Andrews where they met as students.

“It’s no surprise Kate was seen wearing it at her graduation.

“It was a milestone marking her own achievements but also a day which put her on the threshold of a new chapter in her life together with William beyond university.”

9.25am update: Armed forces served Christmas puddings made by the Royal Family

Christmas puddings mixed by four generations of the Royal Family have been distributed to armed forces communities at home and abroad as part of a Royal British Legion project to bring festive cheer.

The Queen, Prince of Wales, Duke of Cambridge and Prince George each wielded a wooden spoon in aid of the RBL’s Together At Christmas initiative a few days before December 25 last year.

Now the festive treats have been given to serving military, volunteers and people supported by the RBL who took part in virtual gatherings to bring people together at a time when issues like loneliness and money concerns come to the fore.

Royal Family

The line of succession to the throne (Image: EXPRESS)

9.00am update: Queen Elizabeth II heartbreak as plans for Prince Charles Christmas visit RUINED

The Queens plans to receive a socially distanced visit from Prince Charles were ruined after Windsor was placed into Tier Four coronavirus restrictions.

Her Majesty and Prince Philip had decided to abandon the traditional Royal Family Christmas celebrations at Sandringham to instead spend a week alone at Windsor Castle. 

Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, had reportedly hoped to visit the Queen during the festive period.

8.40am update: Camilla hailed an ‘absolute asset’ as she carries out engagement despite coronavirus

Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, has been hailed as a “treasure” and an “absolute asset” for marking a cherished annual event with children despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The wife of Prince Charles has been lauded by social media users for carrying on with a tradition she started in 2007 despite the ongoing Covid-19 crisis.

Every year, the Duchess of Cornwall hosts children from one of her patronages and helps them add baubles to Clarence House’s Christmas tree.

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