Friday, 5 Mar 2021

Royal row: Scottish MPs BLAST Prince William and Kate for ‘ignoring’ coronavirus rules

Kate Middleton and Prince William give thanks to key workers

Emails released under Freedom of Information legislation showed the Cambridge royals were warned against travelling to Scotland in December due to coronavirus guidelines preventing travel across the border at the time. Kensington Palace has denied the royal train tour violated travel rules in Scotland, which were put in place on November 20.

John Somers, principal private secretary to Ms Sturgeon, had emailed the royals about the “major impact” the tour would have on November 12.

He said: “My anxiety though is the practical aspects of it and how presentationally it may be difficult if travel restrictions are in place. I think my view is that at the moment the chances of the tour having to be postponed are potentially quite high.”

James Hynd, head of cabinet, parliament, and governance, then emailed Kensington Palace seven days later about travel restrictions introduced on November 20.

He added: “This is obviously likely to have a major impact on the plans you are working on I am afraid.”

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Following the release of the emails, Scottish MPs blasted the Cambridge royals for seemingly ignoring Government guidance.

Tommy Sheppard, Edinburgh East SNP MP, said: “It’s quite clear that the Scottish Government did everything it could to try and dissuade the palace from making this trip.

“On the face of it their decision to ignore this advice and to engage in the public event anyway seems highly irresponsible.”

READ MORE: Palace hits back at claims Prince William and Kate IGNORED royal tour coronavirus warning

Deidre Brock, Edinburgh North and Leith SNP MP, added it was “irresponsible” of the Duke and Duchess “to travel to eight different locations over three days”.

She added: “People are having to stay in their houses, we can’t meet family or friends, we can’t pay proper respects at funerals, we can’t even hug our loved ones when they’re going through hard times.

“I would have hoped that the Royal Family would have had enough empathy to respect what people are going through rather than looking for publicity.

“The Scottish Government pointed out the travel ban twice and the Welsh Government made clear it wasn’t happy. This ‘work trip’ wasn’t essential work, it wasn’t for any of the exemptions laid out in the rules and the guidance.”

When William and Kate visited Edinburgh on December 7, locals reported the royals to Police Scotland for “breaking lockdown rules”.

One Twitter user said at the time: “I haven’t been able to go and see my grandchildren in Edinburgh since August and yet they can just waltz into the capital.”

Another tagged the police and added: “Why didn’t you arrest or fine our royal visitors for breaking the law on non essential travel?

“There are no royal exemptions to the rules.”

A spokesperson for the Cambridge royals said William and Kate adhered to Scottish Government guidelines for the train tour.

In a statement, they said “the same guidance we gave last month” ahead of the Cambridge tour “still stands”.

They then repeated their comments from December, and added: “The Duke and Duchess were travelling for work purposes and all rules were fully adhered to.

“The trip was planned in consultation with the UK, Scottish and Welsh Governments.”

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