Prince William is under intense criticism in the U.K. on Tuesday after it emerged that he missed one of the most important church services in the royal calendar in favor of a hedonistic skiing trip to the Swiss resort of Verbier with a group of male friends.
While Queen Elizabeth and Duke of Edinburgh were at Westminster Abbey for the annual Commonwealth Service, alongside the Prince of Wales, the Duchess of Cornwall, Prince Harry, the Duke of York, and the Earl of Wessex, William was pictured partying on and off the piste.
The lads’ trip to the slopes is playing badly in the British press, after pictures of William high-fiving a 24-year-old Australian lingerie model, Sophie Taylor, were splashed all over the front pages.
Wills was snapped with Taylor during a lunch “washed down with beer, wine, and Jagerbombs,” according to the Sun and a series of other reports across British media, where the prince has previously been regularly accused of being lazy.
The holiday was reportedly a “lads trip” for William, and his old pals Guy Pelly, Tom van Straubenzee, and James Meade.
The vacation feeds into a persistent and damaging narrative that William is workshy: Last year both the queen, 90, and her 95-year-old husband, Prince Philip, conducted more engagements than their grandson, who undertook 188. The queen had 332, and Philip 219.
William has been accused of not pulling his weight in his day job as a helicopter rescue pilot.
The decision to skip the Commonwealth Service this year in favour of a “1 percenter” ski holiday to one of the most expensive ski destinations on earth is also bafflingly bad optics as it occurred just days before the U.K. is due to formally announce its intention to withdraw from the European Union, and much has been made by Brexit supporters of reviving and enlarging trading relations with the Commonwealth; a loose grouping of former British colonies.
William’s office said that the ski trip was private, and refused further comment.