After church, the royals will gather at the Queen’s Sandringham home for lunch before the monarch's annual Christmas address

By Erin Hill
December 25, 2019 06:17 AM
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Credit: Joe Giddens/PA Images via Getty

Merry Christmas from royal siblings Prince George and Princess Charlotte!

Royal fans got an extra special treat on Christmas morning when George, 6, and Charlotte, 4, took part in the royal family’s annual walk to church services in the English countryside for the first time.

The brother-sister duo joined parents Kate Middleton and Prince William and grandpa Prince Charles on Wednesday as they walked with the rest of the royal family to the Church of St. Mary Magdalene on the Queen’s Sandringham estate in Norfolk, about 100 miles north of London. The royal parents held their children’s hands as they made their way into the church service.

Princess Charlotte excitedly looked on as they passed well-wishers during their walk. The young royal wore a dark green coat by Amaia, which coordinated with mom Kate’s green hat and green suede pumps (Kate also wore a long gray coat with a faux fur collar by Catherine Walker & Co). Prince George wore a navy blazer over a blue sweater and collared shirt, which matched dad William’s blue coat and pants.

Prince Charles, Kate Middleton, Princess Charlotte, Prince William and Prince George
| Credit: Joe Giddens/PA Images via Getty
Credit: Joe Giddens/PA Images via Getty
Prince George
| Credit: Samir Hussein/WireImage

Prince Louis, 1, who is too young for the excursion, is likely being looked after by the family’s trusted nanny, Maria Teresa Turrion Borrallo, at the family’s nearby home of Anmer Hall. Both Prince William and Prince Harry made their royal Christmas debuts at 5 years old.

Also notably missing from the festive event are Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, who are currently on an extended break from royal duties and spending Christmas in Canada with their 7-month-old son Archie and Meghan’s mother Doria Ragland. The royal parents previously announced that they would be skipping the festivities at Sandringham this week.

George and Charlotte delighted well-wishers who lined the route surrounding the 16th-century church to catch a glimpse of the royal family. Following the church service, the royals greeted eager fans to wish them a merry Christmas.

Credit: Joe Giddens/PA Images via Getty
Credit: Joe Giddens/PA Images via Getty
Princess Charlotte
| Credit: Samir Hussein/WireImage

Charlotte and George weren’t the only ones making their Christmas walk debut. Princess Beatrice‘s fiancé Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi accompanied his bride-to-be to the church service. Princess Eugenie and husband Jack Brooksbank also attended. The royal sisters’ father Prince Andrew, who is dealing with the aftermath of his friendship with disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein, skipped the public walk and attended an earlier church service with Charles and the Queen.

The Queen arrived to the 11 a.m. service by car. She was joined by Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall and Princess Anne. The monarch also attended an earlier service with son Prince Andrew, who avoided the public walk to church for the later service.

The Queen’s husband Prince Philip, who was recently released from the hospital, remained home at their nearby Sandringham home.

Queen Elizabeth
| Credit: Stephen Pond/Getty
Queen Elizabeth, Princess Anne, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall
| Credit: Joe Giddens/PA Images via Getty

After church, the royals will gather at the Queen’s Sandringham home for a lunch of roast turkey followed by steamed fruit pudding, before they all sit down to watch the Queen’s annual televised address to the nation at 3 p.m.

In lieu of expensive gifts, the royals exchange silly presents. Kate reportedly gave brother-in-law Harry a plastic Grow Your Own Girlfriend kit one Christmas — something he won’t be needing now with wife Meghan by his side!

William and Kate prioritize outings with their children, including a pro soccer game in October, where George could be seen exuberantly cheering on his dad’s favorite team Aston Villa. The royal parents also brought their older children on one of their first royal outings this summer when they attended William and Kate’s sailing race.

Credit: BEN STANSALL/AFP via Getty
Credit: Mark Cuthbert/UK Press via Getty

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As they prepare their children for their own future royal roles, William and Kate are also making sure their kids have a “normal” childhood. George and Charlotte attend the same school with other kids their age, where they are simply known as George and Charlotte Cambridge. They also have the same interests and hobbies as many other school kids. Charlotte loves unicorns and ballet, while George is a big soccer fan and loves to draw.

“They know what’s coming [as they near the throne] and want to give their kids as normal a start as possible,” an aide tells PEOPLE.