The Duchess has handed out shamrocks every year since 2011, when she took over from Princess Margaret. The practice was started by Princess Alexandra in 1901 and is usually carried out by a senior female member of the Royal Family. This year, Prince William handed out the shamrocks alone while his wife stayed home with their children, breaking the 115-year-old tradition.
A spokesperson from Kensington Palace explained the Duchess’s absence from the ceremony saying that she’d gone home to Norfolk to be with her children.
Writing in the Daily Mail, Seward, who has been writing about the Royal Family since the 1980s and is the author of "The Queen’s Speech: An Intimate Portrait Of The Queen In Her Own Words," called it a “pitiful excuse.”
“For Kate to miss an opportunity to honor the Armed Forces with such a lame excuse shows a distinct lack of understanding,” writes Seward.
“If she wants to be thought of as a modern princess who will go the extra mile for the brave soldiers she represents through her charities, she should have been there at their new barracks at Hounslow, not at home in Anmer Hall.
“It somehow made the covenant between Royals and the military look as if it didn’t matter.
“The Duchess’s advisers should have stopped to think how pitiful an excuse it looked to soldiers who have been divided from their families for months on operational tours since British Forces became engaged in the War on Terror in 2003. But they clearly did not.”
“Sadly, for William and Kate, who could do no wrong at the time of their marriage in April 2011, it’s another unnecessary mistake.”
Seward goes on to address the growing criticism of the once-adored royal couple for missing other engagements, holding the British press at arm’s length while catering to members of the American media, and surrounding themselves with “riches and privilege.”
“They may have been thrilled by their own cleverness at having a secret four-day ski break in Courchevel earlier this month, but where they see an entitlement to privacy, the public see a rich, increasingly spoiled couple growing surprisingly distant,” she writes.
Seward insists that the Duchess should have “carried on” and done her duty instead of disappointing the Irish Guards.
“William with Kate, the first girl with true working-class roots to marry a future king, should be the couple most capable of bringing the Monarchy closer to the people,” she says.
“That’s going to involve some degree of personal sacrifice from them. But a few hours of Kate’s time to present shamrocks is just a small one compared to the ultimate sacrifice which remains a reality for the military men she let down on St Patrick’s Day.”