The absence of William and Kate was also notable in that they had attended the annual event for the past two years. Historian and royal biographer Robert Lacey told the Sun: “It is surprising.”

Prince William, the heir to the British throne, on Monday skipped a major ceremony with Queen Elizabeth and other royals to celebrate Commonwealth Day.

Instead he was spotted in the Swiss alps, drinking beer on the ski slopes with friends after partying into the early hours the night before at a club in the posh ski resort town of Verbier, the Daily Mail reported.

The British tabloids were also eager to point out that he seemed very friendly during a leisurely lunch Monday at a mountainside restaurant with a blonde 24-year-old Australian model named Sophie Taylor.

It is believed that William left his wife, Kate Middleton, and their young children at home for this “lads only” weekend jaunt, returning to England late Monday afternoon.

The prince’s decision to miss the Westminster Abbey celebration for Commonwealth Day, a key event in the royal calendar, has revived criticism that the 34-year-old prince is ‘workshy’ and “failing to knuckle down to his royal role,” the Daily Mail said.

Louise Martin, CBE, President, Commonwealth Games Federation presents the Baton to Her Majesty  On the Forecourt of Buckingham Palace on Commonwealth Day The Queen, accompanied by The Duke of Edinburgh and The Earl of Wessex, launched The Queen's Baton Relay for the XXI Commonwealth Games.  The Games will be held on the Australian Gold Coast from 4th-15th April 2018, Monday 13th March 2017. The Queen’s Baton Relay is a Games tradition that celebrates the Commonwealth’s diversity, inspires community pride and excites people about the world-class festival of sports and culture to come.  Louise Martin, CBE, President, Commonwealth Games Federation, Peter Beattie, AC, Chairman, Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games Corporation and two Elder representatives of the Yugambeh people, were presented to Her Majesty and Their Royal Highnesses inside Buckingham Palace, and shortly afterwards, the Royal and official party made their way onto the dais on the Forecourt. Sgt Rupert Frere RLC / MoD Crown Photo (C) GETTY IMAGES
Louise Martin, CBE, President, Commonwealth Games Federation presents the Baton to Her Majesty
On the Forecourt of Buckingham Palace on Commonwealth Day The Queen, accompanied by The Duke of Edinburgh and The Earl of Wessex, launched The Queen’s Baton Relay for the XXI Commonwealth Games. The Games will be held on the Australian Gold Coast from 4th-15th April 2018, Monday 13th March 2017. The Queen’s Baton Relay is a Games tradition that celebrates the Commonwealth’s diversity, inspires community pride and excites people about the world-class festival of sports and culture to come.
Louise Martin, CBE, President, Commonwealth Games Federation, Peter Beattie, AC, Chairman, Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games Corporation and two Elder representatives of the Yugambeh people, were presented to Her Majesty and Their Royal Highnesses inside Buckingham Palace, and shortly afterwards, the Royal and official party made their way onto the dais on the Forecourt.
Sgt Rupert Frere RLC / MoD Crown Photo (C) GETTY IMAGES

The Sun noted that William and Kate were the only major royals to miss the Westminster Abbey service and palace reception Monday. Besides the Queen and Prince Philip, other royals present included Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall, Prince Harry, Prince Andrew and Prince Edward.

The absence of William and Kate was also notable in that they had attended the annual event for the past two years. Historian and royal biographer Robert Lacey told the Sun: “It is surprising.”

For those not familiar with Commonwealth Day, it is an occasion that is said to have deep personal resonance for the queen. It celebrates the organization that unites 52 nations, most of which were territories in the former British empire.

The Queen has started the countdown to the 2018 Commonwealth Games, launching the baton relay at Buckingham Palace.  She handed the baton to two-time Olympic champion cyclist Anna Meares on Monday as it started its journey to host country Australia. The relay will span 388 days, 71 countries and more than 200,000 miles before reaching the Gold Coast. Later the Queen and other Royals will mark Commonwealth Day with a service at Westminster Abbey. Australian Paralympian Kurt Fearnley brought the baton to the palace before it was given to the Queen. After placing a message inside, the monarch then handed it on to his fellow countrywoman Meares. She was joined by her former rival and now friend, Team GB champion cyclist Victoria Pendleton, to start the first leg of the relay.  School children from all of the countries represented at the games were also at the event and there was a performance from Australian singer Cody Simpson.  The Commonwealth Day service at the abbey will be attended by the monarch, the Duke of Edinburgh, the Prince of Wales, the Duches  The Queen’s Baton Relay is a Games tradition that celebrates the Commonwealth’s diversity, inspires community pride and excites people about the world-class festival of sports and culture to come.  The Queen’s Baton carries a message from Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II that calls the Commonwealth’s athletes to come together in peaceful and friendly competition.  The GC2018 Relay will be the longest and the most accessible ever, not just passing through, but spending quality time in each community it visits.  Starting on 13 March 2017 at Buckingham Palace, the Baton will travel on an epic 388-day journey through all nations and territories of the Commonwealth.  The Queen’s Baton will arrive on the Gold Coast for the XXI Commonwealth Games Opening Ceremony on 4 April 2018, where Her Majesty, or a representative, will remove the message from the Baton and read it aloud to officially open the Games. Photo (C) GETTY IMAGES
The Queen has started the countdown to the 2018 Commonwealth Games, launching the baton relay at Buckingham Palace.
She handed the baton to two-time Olympic champion cyclist Anna Meares on Monday as it started its journey to host country Australia.
Photo (C) GETTY IMAGES

Monday’s service was also largest inter-faith gathering in Britain and was designed to highlight the diverse attributes of the Commonwealth, made up of 2.5 billion people. In political and economic terms, the organization is seen by government ministers as a rich source of trade for post-Brexit Britain.

On Monday night, a Kensington Palace spokesman insisted that William and Kate had never intended to go to the Commonwealth service, telling the Daily Mail: “The duke and duchess have attended the event for the last two years and look forward to doing so often in the future.”

Asked about William’s ski trip, the spokesman said: “His schedule was private and we would not comment on it.”

William, who juggles his part-time role as an air ambulance pilot with royal duties, was first spotted on the slopes on Saturday.

Besides raising questions about his commitment to his royal duties, William’s boys’ only weekend has also brought attention to Taylor, the “stunning blonde” model who also works at the Farinet nightclub, a popular après-ski hangout where William and his friends were spotted partying the night before.

Later today The Queen, accompanied by members of the Royal Family will attend the #CommonwealthDay Service @wabbey Photo (C) TWITTER
Later today The Queen, accompanied by members of the Royal Family will attend the #CommonwealthDay Service @wabbey Photo (C) TWITTER

Taylor previously worked for an Australian model agency. A photographer who did an assignment with her last year in Bali described her as a “real down-to-earth straight-talking girl from Oz. She would be very comfortable in the company of the royals even though I don’t think she had met any of them before.”

Source: mercurynews com

Tags: Prince William, William, Commonwealth Day, Former, British Empire, Kate, Kate Middleton, Prince Charles, Prince Philip, Queen Elizabeth II, Queen