Carole and Michael Middleton arrived in the Caribbean last week for the start of their annual holiday on the island of Mustique. Royal watchers anticipated that they would soon be joined by Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge, who traditionally attend the getaway to celebrate Carole's birthday on 31 January. But this year, William and his wife are noticeably absent from the sunshine holiday.
It's likely that their focus instead is on their young family. William and Kate's young son Prince George only recently started attending the Westacre Montessori School in East Walton, and his parents were no doubt reluctant to upset his new nursery routine.
William and Kate decided not to attend the Middleton family holiday in Mustique this year
George is said to be settling into his new surroundings very well, and it was perhaps felt that a holiday at this early stage would have been too disruptive for the Prince.
Furthermore, George's little sister Princess Charlotte is now nine months old and in a routine of her own, which would have been disturbed by the long flight, and four-hour time difference.
William, meanwhile, has commitments keeping him in the UK. Both he and Kate have a busy year ahead with royal engagements, and so the father of two is keen to fit in as many shifts for the East Anglia Air Ambulance as he can in the next few months, before his official work takes over.
The royal couple have a buy year ahead, including an upcoming tour of India
In the spring, the Duke and Duchess will embark on a tour of India together – their first official overseas tour since their three-day stay in New York in December 2014 – and they will also be at the forefront of a series of celebrations in honour of the Queen's 90th birthday.
"They want to play a full role in supporting the Queen's service to the country and to the Commonwealth in her 90th year," an insider told HELLO!.
"Supporting the Queen is a top priority for them and they will play a full part in joining her for major events."