Royal Picture Special: Cambridges enjoy family skiing holiday in French Alps
They may be husband and wife, but when it comes to a snowball fight there is no love lost between the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.
William and Kate found themselves battling in the snowy setting of the French Alps when they took their children Prince George and Princess Charlotte on a short skiing break.
The trip was the first time the family of four had been on holiday together and the Cambridges have released a series of six photographs to mark the event.
They arrived on Wednesday night and the following day, when the pictures were taken, George had his first experience of playing in the snow.
Snow flurries may have fallen outside the two-year-old’s Norfolk home Anmer Hall, but he is likely to have relished the real thing, which was metres thick on the slopes.
The Cambridges’ trip comes after William faced media criticism for carrying out only a few official royal engagements this year.
Newspaper reports claimed the low number of official events the Duke has attended was due to restrictions on what he could do when not flying a helicopter for the East Anglian Air Ambulance.
But the Civil Aviation Authority has said pilots can work when not in the air, as long as their activities do not involve flying.
The pictures of the trip were taken by the Press Association’s veteran royal photographer John Stillwell and featured the Cambridges and their children wrapped up against the icy conditions in ski jackets and hats, with the couple sporting ski goggles.
William and Kate have a well-known competitive streak and the Duchess was determined to win the snowball fight with the Duke. One picture captures the moment an icy missile hits her husband in the chest.
The second-in-line to the throne was not going to be caught out a second time and a few moments later an image shows him playfully grappling with his wife as he manages to knock a snowball from her hand.
Charlotte is growing up fast and in another picture she is shown smiling broadly as she is held by her father, with a wintry backdrop to the image.
The family of four are pictured together with the Cambridges crouching down as they hold their children, while another touching photograph shows William putting his arm around his wife.
A Kensington Palace spokesman said: “This was their first holiday as a family of four and the first time either of the children had played in the snow.
“It was very special and fun short holiday for the family, and they are grateful that John Stillwell was able to capture the moment so well. The Duke and Duchess hope people enjoy the photos.”
Skiing is a favourite pastime of the royals with the Princess of Wales introducing sons William and Harry to the slopes almost 25 years ago.
The royal brothers are believed to have first gone skiing in April 1991 with Diana in Austria during a half-term break.
Harry, then aged six, was the more adventurous, racing downhill after just a few hours’ coaching, while an eight-year-old William was a cautious skier.
Kate is also a fan of skiing and before marrying William the pair went on a number of skiing holidays together.