How Queen Elizabeth Was Honored at Kate Middleton's Christmas Concert (Including a Paddington Bear Nod!)

"This carol service is dedicated to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, and to all those who are sadly no longer with us," a message inside the program read

Queen's Christmas Day broadcast
Queen Elizabeth's 2021 Christmas speech . Photo: Victoria Jones/getty

Kate Middleton and the royal family are keeping Queen Elizabeth II's legacy alive.

The Princess of Wales, 40, hosted her second annual Christmas carol concert at Westminster Abbey on Thursday, with members of the royal family including King Charles III, Queen Camilla, Prince William, Prince George and Princess Charlotte in attendance. As the royals prepare to celebrate the first holiday season since the death of Queen Elizabeth in September, the event paid special tribute to the history-making monarch.

"This carol service is dedicated to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, and to all those who are sadly no longer with us. Her Late Majesty's strongly held values of duty, compassion and faith have guided the creation of this service," a message inside the program for Royal Carols: Together at Christmas read.

As the service began, a film played highlighting how the late Queen was at the heart of Christmas Day for so many people. Her annual address, which aired each Christmas at 3 p.m., was a time-honored tradition which now passes to King Charles III as sovereign.

Together at Christmas Carol service
Prince William, Princess Charlotte, Prince George and Kate Middleton. Getty

In another honor, Prince William read part of his late grandmother's Christmas broadcast from 2012.

"At Christmas, I am always struck by how the spirit of togetherness lies also at the heart of the Christmas story," the Prince of Wales, 40, began, quoting the monarch's address from a decade ago. "A young mother and a dutiful father with their baby were joined by poor shepherds and visitors from afar. They came with their gifts to worship the Christ child. From that day on he has inspired people to commit themselves to the best interests of others. This is the time of year when we remember that God sent his only son 'to serve, not to be served.' He restored love and service to the center of our lives in the person of Jesus Christ."

He continued, "It is my prayer this Christmas Day that his example and teaching will continue to bring people together to give the best of themselves in the service of others. The carol, 'In the Bleak Midwinter', ends by asking a question of all of us who know the Christmas story, of how God gave himself to us in humble service: 'What can I give him, poor as I am? If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb; if I were a wise man, I would do my part'. The carol gives the answer, 'Yet what I can I give him – give my heart.' "

Together at Christmas Carol service
Royal family. Getty

"This year's carol service is dedicated to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and the values Her Majesty demonstrated throughout her life, including duty, empathy, faith, service, kindness, compassion and support for others," Buckingham Palace said in a previous press release about the concert. "These principles are shared and personified by the inspirational guests who have been invited to the Abbey in recognition of their tireless work to help and care for those around them."

A few hours before the Christmas concert commenced, the Prince and Princess of Wales' Twitter account posted festive photos of Paddington Bear ornaments in a tree.

"Getting ready to welcome our #TogetherAtChristmas guests, celebrating those who have gone above and beyond in their communities and paying tribute to Her Late Majesty The Queen," the message read, showing an exterior shot of Westminster Abbey and ornaments of the beloved bear in the decorated evergreen inside the Abbey.

Queen Elizabeth became associated with Paddington Bear after sharing a hilarious skit with the character that aired during her Platinum Jubilee celebrations in June, and over 1,000 Paddingtons and teddy bears were left by the public outside her royal residences in London and Windsor following her death in September. Buckingham Palace previously confirmed the bears would be cleaned and donated to children's hospitals thereafter.

Queen Elizabeth and Paddington the Bear have tea
Queen Elizabeth and Paddington Bear. Buckingham Palace/Studio Canal/BBC Studios/Heyday Films via Getty

Kate hosted her first Christmas concert at Westminster Abbey last year, dedicated to the work of individuals and organizations across the U.K. who supported their communities during the coronavirus pandemic. The royal also gave her first public performance on the piano when she accompanied Scottish singer Tom Walker on the song "For Those Who Can't Be Here."

The 2022 event featured carols sung by the Abbey Choir and performances by including Craig David, Les Miserables star Samantha Barks and a duet between opera singer Alfie Boe and Spice Girl Melanie C. Readings were delivered by notable speakers including Kristin Scott Thomas and Paddington star Hugh Bonneville.

The Christmas Eve broadcast of the event on ITV will be narrated by Catherine Zeta-Jones.

Together at Christmas Carol service

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For the first Christmas following Queen Elizabeth's death, the royals will return to a beloved holiday tradition after being separated for Christmas over the past two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic. They are set to spend Christmas at Sandringham, the late Queen Elizabeth's beloved country estate in Norfolk.

During her life, the Queen would take the train from London to Norfolk in December to spend Christmas at the country residence. She would usually stay at Sandringham until the anniversary of her father King George VI's death and her accession to the throne in early February.

Each Christmas, the royal family makes a trip to St. Mary Magdalene church for a service, followed by greeting well-wishers outside. They then head back to Sandringham to enjoy a holiday feast of Norfolk turkey and watch the monarch's Christmas address air at 3 p.m. local time. As for presents, the royals traditionally exchange gag gifts on Christmas Eve.

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