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Prince George and Princess Charlotte stayed at home to play with their presents as the older members of the family set off for church

By Simon Perry
December 25, 2015 07:50 AM
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Credit: Stephen Lock/i-Images/Polaris

Prince William and wife Kate, in a chic dark green belted coat and matching hat, strolled to church with the rest of the royal family as they joined Queen Elizabeth for Christmas service on Friday morning.

This year marks the couple’s first Christmas season as a family of four but, as expected, Prince George, 2, and 7-month-old Princess Charlotte stayed home to enjoy their presents. The little royals took part in the annual gift exchange that the family enjoys every Christmas Eve.

The stunning couple, who walked a few steps behind William’s dad Prince Charles, 67, and his wife Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, 68, led the younger members of the family from Sandringham House, the Queen’s house on the vast 20,000 acre estate, where the Windsors are celebrating the season.

The Queen, 89, in a bright red festive coat, arrived by car, but the rest of the family took the short walk to St. Mary Magdalene church on the estate.

Also included in the royal party were William and Harry’s cousins, Princess Beatrice, 27, and Princess Eugenie, 25.

Hundreds of well-wishers gathered along the route on the damp, but mild, morning in Norfolk, about 110 miles north of London.

It’s the third year running that William and Kate, both 33, have celebrated Christmas at the Queen’s Norfolk estate. Three years ago, they broke tradition when they stayed at Kate’s family home in Bucklebury, about 50 miles west of London.

The Christmas morning service was the second that many of the royal party attended on Friday. The Queen – in a fur coat – went to an early morning prayers service at the church with sons Prince Charles, Prince Andrew, Prince Edward and Charles’s wife, Camilla. Prince Harry, 31, and his cousins Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie were also seen strolling to the church for the first service.

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William and Harry kicked off the celebrations on Thursday with a fun soccer match at their grandmother’s estate. The annual game pits workers at the estate in Norfolk, England, against villagers from nearby Castle Rising.

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The last time William and Kate were publicly seen at the church was for little Charlotte’s christening in July.

It’s thought that Kate’s family, the Middletons, will join the royal couple at their 10-bedroom country home of Anmer Hall later in the day.

Following lunch at Sandringham, the Queen is set to give her annual address, in which she’ll remind everyone that this season is a “time to remember all that we have to be thankful for.” The pre-taped broadcast will air at 3 p.m. in the U.K.