Why Kate Middleton and Prince William’s Christmas Outing with the Kids Is Causing Controversy
Max Mumby / Indigo / Getty Kate Middleton, Prince William, Prince Louis, Princess Charlotte and Prince George
Kate Middleton's and Prince William's recent family home evening home remains controversial after accused of breaking the UK government's "rule of six" under recent COVID-19 lockdown restrictions.
The couple and their children - Prince George (7), Princess Charlotte (5) and Prince Louis (2) - were married on Sunday along with William's uncle Prince Edward, Sophie, Countess of Wessex and their two children Lady Louise (17) and James Viscount Severn (13).
Luminate Sandringham, a mile-long path through the breathtaking woodland and country park in Sandringham, is open to locals until mid-January. People can buy tickets and enjoy the walk, a fire pit to toast marshmallows, and stalls with festive food and drink.
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The two families were seen walking together in pictures in the Daily Mail. Both groups reportedly arrived separately and had no intention of meeting, but the excursion caused backlash as they gathered as a group of nine when the government set a strict limit on the number of people who can chat outside.
Pool / Samir Hussein / WireImage Prince Edward, James Viscount Severn, Lady Louise and Sophie, Countess of Wessex
"The two families were given separate consecutive spots to visit the trail just before it opened to the general public," royal sources told the Daily Mail. "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."
The palace press office had no official comment when it was reached by PEOPLE.
The Cambridges are spending the Christmas holidays at their home in Ann Hall in Norfolk. Norfolk has been locked in Tier 2, which means only six people can meet outdoors if they are not from the same household.
"You can see friends and family who you don't live with (or who you don't have a support bubble with) outdoors in a group of no more than 6 people. This limit of 6 includes children of all ages," the guidelines state the British government.
GLYN KIRK / AFP via Getty Prince Edward, Sophie, Countess of Wessex and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on December 8th
William and Kate's Christmas plans have likely changed after strict COVID-19 restrictions were rolled out to much of England due to an infectious new strain of coronavirus in the UK.
Much of the UK is under Tier 4 Lockdown, which prohibits all households from mixing and staying overnight from home. A travel ban has also been introduced without having to leave or enter the Tier 4 regions.
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Matt Porteous / The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge / Kensington Palace via Getty The Cambridge Family Christmas Card
After it became known that Queen Elizabeth had canceled the royal family's annual Christmas party at their Sandringham estate, speculation was raised that the Cambridges would herald the vacation with Kate's family in Bucklebury, Berkshire. But Berkshire, where Mike and Carole Middleton live, and London, where Kate's sister Pippa Middleton and husband James Matthews live, are locked in Tier 4.
William, Kate and the children spent much of the pandemic at their Norfolk country house and are believed to be staying there for the entire holiday season.
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