For this year’s Christmas holiday, the first since Queen Elizabeth II passed away, the British royal family were at Sandringham, their much-loved country retreat located in Norfolk.
Keeping with tradition, the royal family went to St. Mary Magdalene church on Christmas Day for mass and then greeted fans after the service.
Princess Catherine looked simply stunning in a khaki-green full-length coat and matching hat.
Prince William wore a navy coat as did his and Catherine’s youngest son, Prince Louis – who joined the Royal family during their Christmas duties for the first time. William and Catherine’s other children, Prince George and Princess Charlotte were also there, wearing a navy suit and maroon peacoat respectively.
However, royal expert Kylie Walters says that while the children looked happy to be celebrating Christmas, they would have been desperately missing their late great-grandmother.
“While Christmas is an exciting time for kids, the Wales children would have felt a lot of sadness this year as well as they celebrated their first festive season without their beloved Gan-Gan. King Charles kept up a lot of the traditions of the late Queen, which while familiar, would have been an extra reminder to everyone that she was no longer with them.”
Despite this sadness, according to Kylie, George, Charlotte and Louis would’ve been on their best behaviour during their Christmas engagement because their relationship with their grandparents on their father’s side is much more formal. Plus, the eldest children are slowly realising there’s a certain expectation of them at these sort of engagements.
“The trio are known to have a particularly warm relationship with Kate’s parents, Michael and Carole Middleton, but their relationship with Camilla isn’t as relaxed and is a bit more formal.”
“George and Charlotte are at an age now where they are starting to realise there is an expectation of them behaving a certain way when they are seen by the public at family gatherings. Things like the pair having a little sibling squabble or one giving the other a quick pinch are definitely not on the cards anymore.”
Also in attendance at St. Mary Magdalene church’s Christmas Day mass were King Charles, Queen Consort Camilla, Prince Andrew, his daughters, Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie with their respective partners, Zara Tindall (Princess Anne’s daughter), her husband Mike Tindall and their children, Mia and Lena.
WATCH: Members of the Royal Family arrive at Balmoral Castle. Article continues after video.
After greeting all of the fans eagerly waiting outside the church, the royal family returned to Sandringham to enjoy a traditional Christmas meal.
Throughout Queen Elizabeth’s life, she would take the train from London to Norfolk, so she could spend December through to February at Sandringham. She would then celebrate, with the royal family, both Christmas and the anniversary of her ascension (February 6) to the throne while there.
Sadly, for the last two years of her life, Queen Elizabeth couldn’t go to Sandringham for Christmas due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2020, she stayed at Windsor Castle with Prince Philip and in 2021, she and Philip were joined at Windsor Castle by Charles and Camilla.
Therefore, it’s incredibly moving that, now that COVID restrictions have eased in the UK, King Charles has kept the Queen’s Christmas tradition alive.