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December 04, 2018 08:52 AM
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Prince William and Kate Middleton have officially kicked off their holiday celebrations!

On Tuesday in London, the couple hosted a party for military families at Kensington Palace. The royal mom of three opted for a festive tartan skirt by Emilia Wickstead with a Brora cropped cashmere black cardigan and matching boots, while Prince William wore a blue quarter-zip pullover for the festive occasion.

After Kate noticed a patch of “snow” on the ground, the pair were jolted by a blower dispensing the white stuff as they made their arrival to the bash. Kate and William then shared a laugh at their moment of surprise.

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Prince William and Kate Middleton
Samir Hussein/WireImage
Yui Mok/PA Images/Getty
Prince William and Kate Middleton
Stuart C. Wilson/Getty
Prince William and Kate Middleton
Stuart C. Wilson/Getty

At the palace party, kids enjoyed an fun mix of activities, including a photo booth, Christmas stocking, snow globe decorating, cracker making and entertainment from U.K. party planners Sharky and George. Prince William, 36, even got in the holiday spirit by joining children in making crackers.

The event, in partnership with the Royal British Legion charity, was held at the palace’s Orangery, just a few hundred yards from where Prince William and Princess Kate live with their children Prince George, 5, Princess Charlotte, 3, and Prince Louis, 7 months. The area was decked out with Christmas trees and other decorations – and of course, there was an appearance from Santa Claus!

Prince William and Kate Middleton
Stuart C. Wilson/Getty
Prince William and Kate Middleton
Stuart C. Wilson/Getty
Yui Mok/PA Images/Getty

Kate gave a speech recalling when Prince William served as a helicopter pilot in the Royal Air Force.

“As someone whose husband has served, I know how hard it feels when a loved one leaves to do the job they trained for,” she said. “When William served in the Falklands or went search and rescue, I remember how it felt. But I can’t imagine how it feel when your loved ones are away on active service during Christmas. The absence of people you love must be especially hard at this time of year or at those special family moments.”

As the royal couple departed, members of their team tossed snowballs to them. William caught one before tossing it back, and Kate caught one as well, holding it as they walked away.

Prince William and Kate Middleton
Yui Mok/PA Images/Getty

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The tea-time party, complete with entertainers and games, is the start of two days of celebrations to recognize the sacrifices and challenges that armed forces families face at this time of year.

The festivities took place a day before the royal parents fly out to the Royal Air Force base on Cyprus to visit the troops and deliver Christmas cards and gifts from their loved ones back home in the U.K. The royal couple will meet with serving personnel, those living on the base, station staff and members of the local community.

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