Royal Holiday

William and Kate Leave Baby George Behind As They Jet Off On Maldive Holiday

Shock greets William and Kate's decision to jet off on long-haul holiday without their baby

When the first reports started filtering back from the Indian Ocean on Wednesday evening that William and Kate had slipped off for a week's vacation to a five-star resort in the Maldives, to say that the corps of British royal correspondents was wrong footed would be an understatement.

There was a combined sense of shock and grudging admiration that once again the young royals had managed to keep their plans entirely secret, with the first news that William and Kate were indeed on holiday - again - coming not from a leak, but from a local newspaper which observed them arriving in Male.

irritatingly for the royal press team, the news completely overshadowed Prince Harry's launch of the Invictus Games, a paralympic-style event for wounded servicemen.

William and Kate's vacation habits are already something of a sore point in still-struggling Britain, with their frequent trips to foreign destinations doing little to soothe occasional Republican tendencies among the masses.

However on this trip, the tin-ear when it concerns travel plans is more evident than usual after confirmation last night that the almost unbelievable reports in the local newspapers, that William and Kate were not accompanied by Baby George - turned out to be true.

Heightened security at the Middleton family home in Berkshire tipped reporters off to the fact that George was staying home with his grandparents - and the new nanny, whose existence was only admitted by the palace on Sunday night, when details of the forthcoming three-week tour to Australia were announced.

People are, quite frankly, astonished. These days, it is simply not the done thing to to leave your kids alone for a week at eight months of age while you zoom off to a long-haul destination on the other side of the world. It may well be jealousy, but the baby-free holiday is playing badly for William and Kate thus far.

Plus, Kate and William could hardly have picked a worse time for their luxury vacation to a resort in Noonu atoll. Kate went to Mustique at the end of January for a ten day vacay with her family, when baby George was photographed as she changed planes.

William went on a controversial shooting holiday in Spain recently, but, more damagingly, he is also supposed to be on a ten-week course at Cambridge University.

The prince enrolled on the ten-week course in agricultural management on January 7, which should have seen him there until the end of this month.At the time Kensington Palace briefed strongly that this should not be regarded as some light-weight commitment; he would have around 20 hours a week of timetabled lectures, seminars and meetings and he was also expected to study in his own time and undertake field trips. It would be hard work, the subtext ran.

And yet now, it appears, that it is the kind of hard work that can be done from a luxury 45-bedroom hotel, the five star Cheval Blanc Randheli Hotel on Noonu Atoll, which has been completely booked out for their stay to ensure the couple complete privacy, and no repeat of the annoying beach photographs that marred their last trip together to Mustique.

In a few weeks time the royals will embark on three-week tour of Australia and New Zealand.

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This wil be hard work, their aides are already spinning. But many in the UK will not see it that way. They have already concluded that it's more a case of nice work, if you can get it.