The Royal Family has been told that they too must obey the coronavirus restrictions after pictures emerged of the Cambridges and Wessexes walking together at Sandringham and apparently breaking the Rule of Six.
Prince William and Kate were pictured with their children, George, Charlotte and Louis walking with William’s uncle, Prince Edward and his family, the Countess of Wessex, daughter Lady Louise and son James, Viscount Severn.
It happened on the Queen’s Sandringham estate, where the two families were enjoying the Luminate event, a woodland walk which is lit up with Christmas lights.
Pictures in today’s Daily Mail show the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge talking as they walked around the trial with the Earl and Countess of Wessex.
They are not shown breaking any social distancing rules and appear to be apart at all times but the government restrictions for Tier 2, which the Norfolk estate is in, limit gatherings to six people when they are not in your immediate household.
“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.”
Unlike other parts of the UK, England’s restrictions on outdoor gatherings include children:
“This limit of six includes children of any age”, it states on the government website.
A source at Sandringham, responded on behalf of both families saying: “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.”
But in an apparent admission that the royals did break the Rule of Six, the source added: “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.”
Fines can be issued by the police for those who break the rules.
A fixed penalty notice of £200 can be issued for a first offence doubling for. Each subsequent offence up to a maximum of £6,400.
Last week, the Queen’s granddaughter Princess Beatrice faced questions over a dinner she attended inside a restaurant in London with others not in her household.
A source for the princess and her husband Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi insisted the dinner was a work meeting, which was permitted at the time it took place.
The Home Secretary, Priti Patel, would not be drawn on the events at Sandringham when we asked her but urged everyone across the country to “look after each other and protect each other.”
The Cambridges relocated from Kensington Palace to their home, Anmer Hall on the Sandringham estate when London was still in Tier 2 restrictions.
The Wessexes are spending Christmas at Sandringham – even though the Queen is staying at Windsor Castle this year because of coronavirus.
A royal source said Prince Edward and Sophie travelled to Norfolk from their home, Bagshot Park in Surrey, which is now in Tier 4 but did so before the tighter restrictions were introduced on Sunday which banned any movement into or out of a Tier 4 area.