Prince William skipped a major Commonwealth ceremony with the Queen to party with friends including an Australian model on a Swiss ski holiday.

Hours before other royals attended a service at Westminster Abbey to mark Commonwealth Day, an occasion with deep personal resonance for the monarch, he was dancing in a Verbier club.

William, who will one day follow his grandmother as head of the 52-strong ‘family of nations’, earlier in the day drank glasses of beer on the slopes of the upmarket resort with friends including high-spirited nightclub boss Guy Pelly and 24-year-old Australian model Sophie Taylor. 

Ms Taylor works at the Farinet nightclub, the popular après-ski hangout in which William and his friends were spotting drinking and dancing until the early hours. 

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The prince was first spotted on Saturday as he took to the slopes with Guy Pelly, widely considered to be a less than steadying influence on William and Harry when they were younger, childhood pal Tom van Straubenzee and close friend James Meade

The prince was first spotted on Saturday as he took to the slopes with Guy Pelly, widely considered to be a less than steadying influence on William and Harry when they were younger, childhood pal Tom van Straubenzee and close friend James Meade

On Sunday the group, including William (shown left in a bobble hat) enjoyed a challenging day on the slopes, interspersed with a lazy lunch on mountainside restaurant La Vache, which is known as one of the best in Switzerland

On Sunday the group, including William (shown left in a bobble hat) enjoyed a challenging day on the slopes, interspersed with a lazy lunch on mountainside restaurant La Vache, which is known as one of the best in Switzerland

It is believed that he left his wife, the Duchess of Cambridge, and their young children at home for the weekend jaunt, returning to England late  afternoon

It is believed that he left his wife, the Duchess of Cambridge, and their young children at home for the weekend jaunt, returning to England late afternoon

The two blondes who were seen enjoying beers with the prince, one of which was named as Sophie Taylor, make their way back to their slopes after the afternoon session

Ms Taylor works at the Farinet nightclub, the popular après-ski hangout in which William and his friends were spotting drinking and dancing until the early hours

The two blondes (left) who were seen enjoying beers with the prince, one of which was named as Sophie Taylor (right), make their way back to their slopes after the afternoon session

One of the girls photographed with Prince William was named as 24-year-old Australian model Sophie Taylor (pictured)

One of the girls photographed with Prince William was named as 24-year-old Australian model Sophie Taylor (pictured)

Ms Taylor (left and right) works at the Farinet nightclub, the popular après-ski hangout in which William and his friends were spotting drinking and dancing until the early hours

The prince let loose  while he enjoyed a break from the skiing, while other senior royals were back in London and on duty

The prince let loose while he enjoyed a break from the skiing, while other senior royals were back in London and on duty

She has previously worked for Australian model agency Chadwick models and has been photographed by Glen Krohn, who described her as a ‘down-to-Earth, easy-going Aussie girl.’

Last night, her boyfriend Aaron Goodfellow said he was also present as the prince enjoyed drinks, calling the royal a ‘great guy’ and ‘very down to earth’. 

It is believed that he left his wife, the Duchess of Cambridge, and their young children at home for the weekend jaunt, returning to England late yesterday afternoon. 

The prince’s decision to miss such a key event in the royal calendar will revive criticism that the 34-year-old prince, now a father of two, is ‘workshy’ and failing to knuckle down to his royal role.

The couple’s absence from yesterday’s Commonwealth Service at Westminster Abbey was notable, particularly as they have attended the annual event for the past two years.

Almost every other senior member of the Royal Family was present alongside the Queen and Prince Philip, including Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall, Prince Harry, Prince Andrew and Prince Edward.

Princess Anne was in Wales on an official engagement while Edward’s wife Sophie, the Countess of Wessex, was on a Commonwealth-related trip to Malawi.The Queen has been head of the Commonwealth throughout her 65-year reign, which is an ‘important symbolic and unifying role’, according to Buckingham Palace.

Yesterday’s service, organised by the Royal Commonwealth Society, is the largest inter-faith gathering in Britain and was designed to highlight the diverse attributes of the Commonwealth, made up of 2.5billion people.

Government ministers see the organisation as a rich source of trade for post-Brexit Britain and several royal trips are being planned to strengthen ties with its nation states.

The Queen would also have seen yesterday’s event as being particularly important as it marked the 40th anniversary of Commonwealth Day, which is always held on the second Monday in March. 

Prince William (pictured wearing a blue and black skiing jacket) is a keen skier, taking after his father Prince Charles

The prince smiles after exiting a ski lift

Prince William (pictured wearing a blue and black skiing jacket) is a keen skier, taking after his father Prince Charles

William stripped off to his thermal jumper and wore a bobble hat as he sipped a cold beer in the sunshine, laughing and ‘high-fiving’ a blonde friend as she chatted intently to Mr Pelly and Mr Meade

William stripped off to his thermal jumper and wore a bobble hat as he sipped a cold beer in the sunshine, laughing and ‘high-fiving’ a blonde friend as she chatted intently to Mr Pelly and Mr Meade

Later that evening William, having changed into a Nordic-style sweater and jeans, and the group were seen dining at La Channe restaurant, where a beef fondue costs £48 and a chicken salad is £32

Later that evening William, having changed into a Nordic-style sweater and jeans, and the group were seen dining at La Channe restaurant, where a beef fondue costs £48 and a chicken salad is £32

The Queen would also have seen the event as being particularly important as it marked the 40th anniversary of Commonwealth Day. In Verbier, however, William appeared more concerned with choosing which black run to tackle

The Queen would also have seen the event as being particularly important as it marked the 40th anniversary of Commonwealth Day. In Verbier, however, William appeared more concerned with choosing which black run to tackle

The prince smiles as he shares a laugh with friends on a ski lift in the Swiss Alps, while his fellow royals were in London

The prince smiles as he shares a laugh with friends on a ski lift in the Swiss Alps, while his fellow royals were in London

William did not have to try hard to blend in with the crowd on the slopes, with his sunglasses and a helmet providing an adequate disguise

William prepares to take on another run

William did not have to try hard to blend in with the crowd on the slopes, with his sunglasses and a helmet providing an adequate disguise

The group of boys make their way through the resort village of Verbier, considered among the world's finest

The group of boys make their way through the resort village of Verbier, considered among the world’s finest

In Verbier, however, William seemed more concerned with choosing which black run to tackle and where to eat.

The prince was first spotted on Saturday as he took to the slopes with Mr Pelly, widely considered to be a less than steadying influence on William and Harry when they were younger, childhood pal Tom van Straubenzee and close friend James Meade. The four of them were seen on a ski lift together as they prepared to take to the slopes.

Later that evening William, having changed into a Nordic-style sweater and jeans, and the group were seen dining at La Channe restaurant, where a beef fondue costs £48 and a chicken salad is £32.

On Sunday the group enjoyed a challenging day on the slopes, and a lazy lunch at mountainside restaurant La Vache, which is known as one of the best in Switzerland.

William stripped off to his thermal jumper and wore a bobble hat as he sipped a cold beer in the sunshine, laughing and ‘high-fiving’ a friend as she and another blonde chatted intently to Mr Pelly and Mr Meade.

Later that night he was seen in the Farinet nightclub, a popular apres-ski hangout. William was there until the early hours, drinking and dancing with his friends to a string of hits.

The party enjoyed several beverages while sitting out on the decking of a restaurant and bar situated on the slopes in Verbier

The party enjoyed several beverages while sitting out on the decking of a restaurant and bar situated on the slopes in Verbier

Following an action-packed afternoon in the Swiss Alps, the prince swapped his ski gear for a more casual look

William opts for a jumper and jeans for the evening session

Following an action-packed afternoon in the Swiss Alps, the prince swapped his ski gear (left) for a more casual look (right)

The royal shows fine parallel form as he makes his way down yet another run during a fun day of skiing in Switzerland

The royal shows fine parallel form as he makes his way down yet another run during a fun day of skiing in Switzerland

The prince (pictured earlier in the day) would have been accompanied by at least two plain-clothed Scotland Yard police officers at all times while in the nightclub, which is open until 2am

The prince (pictured earlier in the day) would have been accompanied by at least two plain-clothed Scotland Yard police officers at all times while in the nightclub, which is open until 2am

After a day of skiing, the Prince (seen in blue) was seen in the Farinet nightclub, a popular apres-ski hangout. William was there until the early hours, drinking and dancing with his friends to a string of hits

After a day of skiing, the Prince (seen in blue) was seen in the Farinet nightclub, a popular apres-ski hangout. William was there until the early hours, drinking and dancing with his friends to a string of hits

William, who juggles his part-time role as an air ambulance pilot with royal duties, has often been accused of being workshy

William, who juggles his part-time role as an air ambulance pilot with royal duties, has often been accused of being workshy

The monarch showed off her second colourful ensemble of the day, wearing yellow to this afternoon's Commonwealth Day service

Her Majesty wore bright pink to launch a The Queen's Baton at Buckingham Palace this morning

The monarch showed off her second colourful ensemble of the day, wearing yellow to this afternoon’s Commonwealth Day service (left) and bright pink to launch a The Queen’s Baton at Buckingham Palace this morning (right) 

The Queen and Prince Philip make their way out of Westminster Abbey having attended the Commonwealth Day service

The Queen and Prince Philip make their way out of Westminster Abbey having attended the Commonwealth Day service

Prince Charles and Camilla

Prince Harry

Almost every other senior member of the Royal Family was present alongside the Queen and Prince Philip, including Prince Charles and Camilla (left), and Prince Harry (right) 

A band which played at the club, Husseyband, tweeted on Sunday: ‘Great gig tonight – Prince William even made an appearance!’

The prince would have been accompanied by at least two plain-clothed Scotland Yard police officers at all times while in the nightclub, which is open until 2am.

William, who juggles his part-time role as an air ambulance pilot with royal duties, has often been accused of being 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 visits and meetings, and Philip 219.

Last night a Kensington Palace spokesman insisted that William and Kate had never intended to go to the Commonwealth Service, adding: ‘The duke and duchess have attended the event for the last two years and look forward to doing so often in the future.’

Asked about William’s ski trip, the spokesman said: ‘His schedule was private and we would not comment on it.’

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 visits and meetings, and Philip 219

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 visits and meetings, and Philip 219

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