Prince William and Kate have shared a Christmas message to pay tribute to ‘those who are alone or having to isolate away from loved ones’.
The royal couple will not be joining the Queen for Christmas this year, instead spending the festive season in Norfolk, where they will host members of the Middleton family.
Last night the Duchess of Cambridge gave millions of Britons a Christmas treat on TV as she played the piano to accompany singer Tom Walker with a poignant song performed by candlelight at Westminster Abbey.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge jointly penned a tweet, which they signed off ‘W&C’ to indicate they had written it themselves, and posted it on Christmas morning.
They said they recognised today is ‘different to what so many of us had planned’ following a spike in Covid cases in recent weeks, forcing people to isolate away from their families.
It read: ‘This Christmas will be different to what so many of us had planned. From those who are alone or having to isolate away from loved ones, to the incredible people supporting our NHS and caring for those most in need – we are thinking of you. W & C.’
Photographs showed the Duke and Duchess accompanied by their children, George, eight, Charlotte, six, and Louis, three, as they left the Christmas Day morning church service at St Mary Magdalene Church in Sandringham this morning.
Meanwhile, the Queen has missed out this morning on a service at Windsor Castle as she remained indoors while royals including Charles and Camilla, Edward and Sophie arrived at St George’s Chapel.
The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall, the Earl and Countess of Wessex and the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester met the Dean of Windsor outside the chapel ahead of the Christmas Matins service.
Sophie and Edward were accompanied by their daughter Lady Louise and son James, Viscount Severn. It is understood the Queen’s absence from the service is a personal choice and follows a precautionary approach seen over the last six months.
The service, which is ticketed, is attended by residents of the Windsor estate and members of the chapel congregation.
The monarch is expected to be joined at Windsor Castle by Charles and Camilla, having shelved her customary trip to Sandringham as a ‘precautionary’ measure amid rising coronavirus cases.
The royal couple will not be joining the Queen for Christmas this year, instead spending the festive season in Norfolk, where they will host members of the Middleton family. Pictured, leaving the Christmas Day church service at St Mary Magdalene Church in Sandringham
Prince William and Kate leaving the Christmas Day morning church service at St Mary Magdalene Church in Sandringham, Norfolk. They were joined by their children Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis
Kate smiled as she sat in the passenger seat of the car while Prince William drove the family away from the church service in Sandringham this morning
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and their three children have stayed at Sandringham for Christmas Day
Prince George looked less than impressed as the family drove away from the church service on Saturday morning
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge jointly penned a tweet, which they signed off ‘W&C’ to indicate they had written it themselves, and posted online on Christmas morning
This year’s Christmas message will be the Queen’s first after the death of her husband Prince Philip in April. She will wear a sapphire brooch she wore on her honeymoon with the Duke of Edinburgh in 1947
It is believed the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will all spend the holiday season at Anmer Hall, in their home on the Sandringham estate.
It is not known which members of Kate’s family will be staying with them.
The Cambridges have not celebrated Christmas with the Middletons since 2016, when William, Kate, George and Charlotte visited a church in Bucklebury.
And although they will not be with the Queen on Christmas Day, William and Kate will see her over the Christmas period, reports the Mirror.
It comes as the Queen is facing her first Christmas without her late husband Prince Philip in more than 73 years, following his death in April of this year.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are also remaining stateside for the holidays, meaning the Queen will not yet meet her new granddaughter Lilibet.
However she will be joined on Christmas Day by Prince Charles and Camilla at Windsor Castle, in a boost for the monarch after Princess Anne had to drop out.
They are likely to be joined by Prince Andrew and his former wife, Sarah, Duchess of York, plus their two daughters, Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie.
The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall, the Earl and Countess of Wessex and the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester have arrived for the Christmas Matins service in Windsor Castle
It is understood the Queen’s absence from the service is a personal choice and follows a precautionary approach seen over the last six months
The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall arrived at St George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle Saturday morning
The Duchess of Cornwall donned a blue chequered coat and a white umbrella as she arrive for the Christmas service
Camilla took out a colourful mask before entering the chapel for the Christmas Day service on Saturday
Sophie and Edward were accompanied by their daughter Lady Louise and son James, Viscount Severn. The royals were greeted at the entrance by the Dean of Windsor before moving inside for the morning service
The Earl and Countess of Wessex are also expected to be with the Queen for Christmas alongside their children, James, Viscount Severn, and Lady Louise
The Duke and Duchess of Gloucester arrive to attend the Christmas Day morning church service at St George’s Chapel
The Duke and Duchess of Gloucester are met by the Dean of Windsor (centre) as they arrive to attend the Christmas Day morning church service
Duke and Duchess of Gloucester arrive to attend the Christmas Day morning church service at St George’s Chapel
The Duchess of Cambridge accompanies singer Tom Walker on the piano during a performance of his song For Those Who Can’t Be Here
It is believed William and Kate (pictured) will all spend the holiday season at Anmer Hall, in their home on the Sandringham estate
Kate (seen far left) and Tom Walker (centre) gave an emotional performance by candlelight at Westminster Abbey
Walker praised Kate (pictured playing the piano during Friday’s aired ITV performance) for being an ‘amazing musician’ and said that although she was quite nervous when they first rehearsed in a studio, she went away and ‘invested a lot of time and energy into getting it right’
Walker gave the Duchess a backing track to practise with before the performance and said he was ‘shocked at how much better she was’ when it came to the actual show, which left him ‘really impressed’
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will be spending the festive season in Norfolk, where they will be joined by some members of the Middleton family (pictured in March 2020 with Camila, Prince Charles and the Queen)
It comes as the Queen is facing her first Christmas without her husband Prince Philip (pictured together centre) in 77 years, following his death in April this year
Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall stand next to the stunning Christmas tree at Clarence House for a photograph posted on their official Instagram account last Friday
The Queen with Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwll in Braemar in September 2019
Princess Anne and Sir Timothy Laurence, pictured at Harry and Meghan’s wedding at Windsor in 2018. Both will not be with the Queen on Christmas Day after Sir Timothy contracted Covid
Who is expected to join the Queen for lunch on Christmas Day now?
- Prince Charles
- Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall
- Prince Andrew, Duke of York
- Sarah, Duchess of York
- Princess Beatrice
- Princess Eugenie
- Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex
- Sophie, Countess of Wessex
- James, Viscount Severn
- Lady Louise Windsor
The Earl and Countess of Wessex are also expected to be there, with their children, James, Viscount Severn, and Lady Louise – but Anne will not be attending.
Clarence House confirmed that the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall would join the 95-year-old monarch at Windsor today.
The plans of Charles and Camilla had been unclear until earlier this week. They spent last Christmas at Highgrove, their country estate in Gloucestershire.
But a Clarence House spokesman confirmed: ‘The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall will be with Her Majesty The Queen on Christmas Day.’
It comes after the Queen received a festive blow after her son-in-law Sir Timothy Laurence contracted Covid, meaning neither he nor Anne could join her.
The Queen had already decided to cancel her pre-Christmas dinner at Windsor for her extended family this week as a result of rising coronavirus cases.
And on Monday it was revealed that she had also decided to scrap plans to travel to her beloved Sandringham country estate in Norfolk for Christmas.
Sources indicated that the Queen felt it was ‘too difficult’ for her family and staff to move between residences safely bearing in mind pleas from the Government for the public to be cautious.
One said: ‘Her Majesty always leads by example.’
Instead she plans to spend her Christmas quietly at Windsor, her first without husband Philip.
Several family members are expected to be with the Queen, Charles and Camilla – including Prince Andrew and his family and the Earl and Countess of Wessex and their children.
But she had also hoped her daughter Anne, who she has a close relationship with, would be able to join her.
Instead Anne will be isolating with her husband at Gatcombe Park, their Gloucestershire estate.
2019 — The Queen leaves St Mary Magdalene’s Church after a service on December 25, 2019
2018 — The Queen arrives at St Mary Magdalene’s Church in Norfolk on Christmas Day in 2018
2017 — The Queen leaves St Mary Magdalene’s Church after the Christmas Day service in 2017
A senior royal source confirmed: ‘Admiral Sir Tim has tested positive for Covid and is following all the appropriate rules. Christmas Day at Windsor will not be possible.’
Sir Tim is understood to have tested positive early this week, meaning that under the new seven-day rule he and the princess could travel to see the Queen after the weekend.
She usually hosts around 20 to 30 family members at her Norfolk home, with crowds of wellwishers turning out to watch the royals walk to the Christmas Day service at the church on the estate. Sources told the Mail that the Queen, who normally stays in Norfolk until early February, could yet travel there in January.
Kate, who has tickled the ivories since she was a child, recorded the song with Walker in the Chapter House of the Abbey, one day before a community carol service on December 8 which was shown on ITV on Christmas Eve.
They played his Christmas single ‘For Those Who Can’t Be Here’ together, after the Duchess had the idea for the performance following a meeting with Walker when she heard him play at a charity function in October.
At that event for The Forward Trust, a London-based charity that helps people with drug and alcohol dependence, Walker played ‘Leave a Light On’ – a song about the struggles of those experiencing addiction.
And the 30-year-old singer was then approached to play for the carol service, with Kate, 39, having come up with the idea of accompanying him on the piano after music brought ‘great comfort’ to her during the lockdowns.
The Duchess was said to be ‘quite nervous’ during her first rehearsal ‘because she hadn’t played with another musician in a very long time’, reported Mirror Online.
Walker said the pair had to sit on opposite sides of the room to practice the emotional performance due to Covid.
He told MailOnline the whole plan was ‘very, very secret’, adding that they were both scared of messing it up.