William and Kate to make first public appearance since ski trip furore


The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will make their first public appearance on Friday since William faced a media backlash following his "lads only" skiing break.

William and Kate will honour the Irish Guards on St Patrick's Day in London before travelling to France for a two-day visit.

They will meet President Francois Hollande and later be guests of honour at a glittering dinner party in Paris on Friday night.

The black-tie event, hosted by Britain's ambassador to France Edward Llewellyn, will celebrate the friendship and cultural ties between the UK and France and among the guests will be celebrities from the worlds of film and sport.

Acclaimed actress Kristin Scott-Thomas is expected to attend along with French acting stars Jean Reno and Audrey Tautou and former Arsenal footballer Robert Pires.

William and Kate's trip comes a few days after the Duke was last on the continent enjoying a skiing break with friends in Verbier.

He has been criticised by newspapers who poked fun at his antics on the dance floor and in the DJ booth but also questioned his judgement at missing a major Commonwealth celebration with the Queen for the social event.

The official royal visit comes in the month that Prime Minister Theresa May is expected to trigger Article 50, beginning Brexit negotiations.

William and Kate's trip will be seen as a bid to build on the UK's bilateral relationship with France and they have already been dubbed "Brexit Ambassadors" by the press.

The Cambridges will begin their official visit with a meeting with President Hollande which is likely to be held at his official residence the Elysee Palace.

On Friday evening before the dinner party Mr Llewellyn will host a reception at the embassy to mark the launch of Les Voisins - a celebration of UK-French links - where the Cambridges will meet young French leaders from a range of fields from the arts to fashion and business.

On Saturday the highlight of the day will see William and Kate attend the Six Nations rugby match between Wales and France at the Stade de France.

This will be William's first event as patron of the Welsh Rugby Union, a role he took over from his grandmother the Queen.

The trip to Paris - where William's mother, Diana, Princess of Wales, was killed in a car crash - comes as the Duke prepares to mark the 20th anniversary of her death in August this year.

He is not expected to visit the scene of the crash in the Pont D'Alma tunnel nor commemorate the forthcoming anniversary while in France.

Before travelling to France the Duke, who is Colonel of the Irish Guards, and the Duchess will visit the 1st Battalion Irish Guards at their base in Hounslow, west London to mark St Patrick's Day.