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Queen to host royals' Christmas, Kate's first

December 23, 2011 12:00:00 AM PST
Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge, will celebrate her first Christmas as part of Queen Elizabeth II's extended family.

The quiet holiday break will be followed by a year's worth of festivities to mark the queen's 60th year on the throne.

Most of the royals, including Middleton and her husband, Prince William, will be dispatched across the globe to help the monarch celebrate her Diamond Jubilee in grand style.

Elizabeth and her husband, Prince Philip, are planning to mark the event with a series of tours throughout England to culminate with a celebration in London in early June that will include an unprecedented pageant on the River Thames with up to 1000 boats taking part.

The Diamond Jubilee will mean overseas travel for many royals: Prince Charles and his wife Camilla will jet off to Australia, Canada, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea; William and Kate will represent the queen in Malaysia, Singapore, the Solomon Islands and the tiny island of Tuvalu; while Prince Harry is being sent to the Caribbean to tour Belize, Jamaica and the Bahamas.

Palace officials said Friday that the royals plan to attend a Christmas service at the Church of St. Mary Magdalene on the estate grounds. This gives well-wishers a chance to see the royals briefly, and also provides photographers a chance to snap pictures of the queen - and Kate.

The family traditionally exchanges gifts at Sandringham on Christmas Eve.

After the church service, the royals usually walk on the grounds, have a gala lunch, and gather to watch the queen's prerecorded television broadcast, a tradition that began with a radio address by King George V in 1932.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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