Prince Edward and Sophie Wessex share heartwarming Christmas card

Prince Edward and Sophie Wessex share heartwarming Christmas card from their visit to a London Farm amid accusations of inadvertently flouting ‘rule of six’ when ‘mingling’ with Prince William and his family in Sandringham

  • Prince Edward and the Countess of Wessex have shared their Christmas card 
  • Shows a heartwarming photograph from their visit to a London farm this year 
  • It comes after the couple were accused of inadvertently flouting the ‘rule of six’ 

Prince Edward and the Countess of Wessex have shared a heartwarming photo from their visit to a London farm this year in their annual Christmas card.

The festive card, which was shared by a recipient on Twitter yesterday, shows the Queen’s youngest son, 56, and Sophie, 55, sitting on a bale of straw with beaming smiles while at Vauxhall City Farm, Lambeth in October. 

It comes after the couple were accused of inadvertently flouting the ‘rule of six’ after meeting the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and their children at Sandringham. 

Prince Edward and Sophie, along with their children Lady Louise Windsor, 17, and James Viscount Severn, 13, are said to have ‘mingled’ with Prince William, Kate, and their children Prince George, seven, Princess Charlotte, five, and Prince Louis, two, at a public attraction.

Prince Edward and the Countess of Wessex have shared a heartwarming photo from their visit to a London farm this year in their annual Christmas card (pictured)

It comes after the couple were accused of inadvertently flouting the ‘rule of six’ after meeting the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and their children at Sandringham (pictured)

Prince Edward and Sophie, along with their children Lady Louise Windsor, 17, and James Viscount Severn, 13, are said to have ‘mingled’ with Prince William, Kate, and their children Prince George , seven, Princess Charlotte, five, and Prince Louis , two, at a public attraction (pictured)

The two groups were visiting Luminate, a Christmas-themed woodland walk at the Queen’s Norfolk residence, along with members of the public on Sunday evening.

Both arrived separately, with royal sources stressing there was no intention of meeting up as a party of nine.

But as they 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.

Meanwhile, Sophie and Prince Edward’s Christmas card snap showed the couple laughing during their visit to the farm, where they met some friendly alpacas. 

The couple even appeared to colour coordinate during the joint engagement, with Sophie sporting olive green trousers from Galvan London, while Prince Edward sported a matching blazer.

The festive card, which was shared by a recipient on Twitter yesterday (pictured), shows the Queen’s youngest son, 56, and Sophie, 55, sitting on a bale of straw with beaming smiles while at Vauxhall City Farm, Lambeth in October

The Countess pared her stylish flared trousers with an elegant cream coat from MaxMara and a purple sweater.

Their Christmas card was signed by the couple as well as their two teenage children Louise Windsor and James, Viscount Severn. 

The Wessexes are believed to be spending Christmas at their Surrey home, Bagshot Park, amid Britain’s coronavirus restrictions.

They usually head to Sandringham for the festive period, along with the rest of the royal family and the Queen.

But instead, the monarch and the Duke of Edinburgh will remain at Windsor Castle for Christmas, while Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall plan to stay at Highgrove House in Gloucestershire.

Prince Edward and Sophie’s Christmas card comes after the couple were accused of inadvertently flouting the ‘rule of six’ after meeting the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and their children at Sandringham.

Sophie and Prince Edward’s Christmas card snap showed the couple laughing during their visit to the farm, where they met some friendly animals (pictured)

The Queen’s Norfolk residence is covered by Tier Two rules meaning that only six people – including children – can meet up outdoors if they are not from the same household or support bubble.

The regulations 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.’ 

One astonished member of the public, who snapped the families on their phone, told the Mail they had seen the families ‘mingling’ several times. One of those photographs clearly shows 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 with Charlotte and Sophie, who has James following behind her, with the Earl of Wessex and his daughter Louise bringing up the rear.

Another picture shows William, holding hands with George and Charlotte, walking alongside Sophie, James and Louise.

The couple (pictured) even appeared to colour coordinate during the joint engagement, with Sophie sporting olive green trousers from Galvan London, while Prince Edward sported a matching blazer

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 was inadvertent. 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.’

William and Kate, both 38, have been staying with their children at Anmer Hall on the Sandringham estate for the last ten days.

They had hoped to spend the festive season with Kate’s family in Berkshire but were forced to scrap their plans due to the pandemic.

The Queen’s Norfolk residence (pictured) is covered by Tier Two rules meaning that only six people – including children – can meet up outdoors if they are not from the same household or support bubble (stock photo)

They 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.

Family tickets for the Luminate experience cost £52. The two groups were given a starting slot of between 4.15pm and 4.30pm.

The trail is illuminated by displays set to music with trees lit up in different colours, and flickering fairies in cages. Several signs remind walkers of the need for social distancing.

Detectives who were following the families, ordered members of the public not to take pictures, saying that the royals were ‘on a private visit’.

Home Secretary Priti Patel has said the rule of six means families should not stop to chat to other families if they bump into them in the street.

‘The rule of six is about making sure that people are being conscientious and not putting other people’s health at risk,’ she added, when asked if a family-of-four, speaking to another family-of-four, would be breaking the rules.

But lawyers have argued that the interpretation is ‘wrong’ as the ban applies to gatherings ‘operated by a business, a charitable, benevolent or philanthropic institution or a public body’.

There is also a lot of confusion over whether the rule of six includes young children, which it does in Tier Two.

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