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British Royals attend Christmas at Sandringham, Kate kisses Queen Elizabeth

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The British Royals have attended their Christmas Day service at at St. Mary Magdalene church in Sandringham, Norfolk, where Prince George will be spending his first Christmas. A small group of royals arrived at the church December 25, 2013, and walked the short way across frosty fields to the chapel.

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The Duchess of Cambridge was photographed kissing the Queen on the cheek; the Mirror reported that the Duchess was wearing a tartan McQueen coat and Gina Foster hat.

Among the group were the Queen and a healthy-looking Prince Philip, Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge, the Earl and Countess of Wessex, Prince Andrew and his daughters Princess Beatrice and Eugenie, and Princess Anne with her husband, Timothy Laurence. Prince Harry, who has apparently sprouted a beard during his time in Antarctica, was also there.

According to The Mirror, a crowd of several hundred have gathered to see the royals this morning. Some arrived for an early service, while a second, main, service began at 11:00 a.m. According to The Express, around 30 members of the British Royal Family will be spending Christmas at Sandringham this year.

This annual Christmas service is one of the last appearances of the royal family in any given year, and comes the morning after the royals gather to give one another gifts, per tradition. Christmas Day is for religion, and the royals follow the European tradition of giving gifts on Christmas Eve.

Another royal tradition will follow later in the day, when Queen Elizabeth reflects on the year in her annual Christmas broadcast. According to the BBC, topics will include the birth of the next in line to the throne, Prince George, in July, and the need to sit back from our busy lives and pause for reflection.

Prince George was not brought to the service by his parents, which is not unusual: Peter Phillips' two daughters have yet to make an appearance at the traditional service, and royal children are often kept out of the media's glare until they are older.

Sources: BBC News; The Mirror; The Express

Get British Royal Family news by subscribing to this column or using the RSS feed. Linda Gentile is the British Royal Family Examiner and you can also follow on Twitter and Facebook.


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