The Queen chatted to her family before she returned to Windsor Castle


Prince William and Kate Middleton reunited with Queen Elizabeth and other senior royals on Tuesday as they capped off their Royal Train Tour with a final stop at Windsor Castle.

It marked the first time many of the royal family members had come together since the pandemic began earlier this year. The reunion saw the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge reunite with Prince Charles, Camilla Duchess of Cornwall, Prince Edward, Sophie, Countess of Wessex and Princess Anne.

As the Queen made her way up the stairs to return to the castle, William and Kate said their goodbyes. William was heard calling out, “Bye, Gran.”

Unlike in years past, the royal family will not be spending the upcoming Christmas holiday at the Queen’s Sandringham estate. After careful consideration, the monarch, 94, and her husband, Prince Philip, 99, will celebrate the holiday season at Windsor Castle, where they have been isolating amid the ongoing pandemic.

Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Queen Elizabeth II
Kate Middleton, Prince William and Queen Elizabeth
| Credit: Getty
Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Queen Elizabeth II
Kate Middleton, Prince William and Queen Elizabeth
| Credit: Getty

While Charles and Camilla have plans to visit the Queen and Philip at Windsor Castle at some point during the holiday period, it is not yet known whether William, Kate and their three children will be paying them a visit.

"Like everyone, their hope is that normality will return in 2021," a royal source told PEOPLE. The Queen and Philip may still see some members of their family, "but they understand that they have competing demands."

During Tuesday’s meet-up at Windsor, the royal family paid tribute to key workers, care staff and volunteers who help the vulnerable in the community close to the castle.

Kate and William spoke to Sarah Cottle, 49, headteacher of three pre-schools in Windsor and Maidenhead.

“We talked about Covid play, the children are starting to put masks on their dolls, making sense of the world around them. Social distancing and that’s tricky. The duchess shared that was really difficult and emphasized that you just can’t with young children," Cottle said.

“She asked if I’d completed her survey [Kate's '5 Big Questions' survey on the early years], which put me on the spot a little and the duke said, ‘Don’t put her on the spot’ and she laughed and said she’d had to chide her parents to get them to fill it in," Cottle added. “It’s been great that the Cambridges have done this tour, nice to see them recognizing the work schools have done."

Queen Elizabeth II during an event to thank local volunteers and key workers in the Quadrangle at Windsor Castle on December 8, 2020 in Windsor, England.
Queen Elizabeth
| Credit: Getty

The Queen enjoyed a Christmas carol performance of "Hark the Herald Angels Sing" and "The First Noel" on the steps of her Windsor Castle home as she welcomed the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. As the Salvation Army band played festive tunes for the Queen and her family gathered around her, the monarch was seen quietly singing along.

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Commissioners Anthony and Gillian Cotterill, Territorial Leaders for the Salvation Army in the U.K. and Republic of Ireland, spoke to the Queen, who told them, “Nobody’s allowed to sing anymore."

Choirs are allowed to perform outside and Princess Anne told her mother, “Oh, we can sing outside."

Cotterill said, “The Queen was saying she was just so happy we were able to play some carols because she thinks this will be the only time she’ll be able to hear carols. I did see the Queen mouthing some of the words – so that was nice.”