Welfare Kate

06.19.135:52 AM ET

Outrage in some quarters - and guilty snickers in others today - following remarks by Dave Prentis, the head of the UK's biggest worker's union, Unison, who made a joke at his organization's annual conference comparing Kate Middleton to young mums who have babies to access welfare payments.

Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge, second from left, arrives for an official visit to Naomi House near Winchester, England, Monday, April 29, 2013. Naomi House is a care home for children and young adults who have terminal conditions. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)
Kate arrives for an official visit to Naomi House near Winchester, England on April 29, 2013. (Alastair Grant/AP)

During his speech to delegates in Liverpool, Dave Prentis was arguing against cuts to welfare payment, saying: "In the tabloid press, so much is written about benefits abuses - young women having babies to get state hand-outs. But conference, that's enough on Kate Middleton."

Mr Prentis's joke went down a storm with delegates but was later downplayed by an official spokesperson as "a throwaway remark".

It does, however, point up the significant hostility felt among many left-wing British people in particular to the undeniably lavish lifestyles enjoyed by the royal family, the bill of which is ultimately footed by the nation.