Her Majesty The Queen hosted a pre-Christmas lunch for her family at Buckingham Palace yesterday. The occasion was graced by all the senior members of the Royal Family, with the exception of The Duke of Cambridge, who had to excuse himself due to prior commitments.
But the Duke was well represented by his young family; The Duchess of Cambridge, accompanied by her two children, Prince George and seven month-old Princess Charlotte, who will be celebrating her first Christmas this year. His brother, Prince Harry, acted as a chaperone in William’s absence, escorting his nephew and niece to lunch with Her Majesty.
Onlookers caught a glimpse of Prince George as his chauffeur driven vehicle entered the Palace gates. The tot, who now has a fine head of curly, golden locks, was strapped into a car seat in the back, next to his mother. He appeared to have his finger in his mouth and was lost in thought. It was a rare sighting of the two-and-a-half year-old Prince, who the public last saw at his sister’s christening in July.
Among the first guests to arrive was Autumn Phillips, the wife of The Queen’s oldest grandson, Peter Phillips. She was followed by a number of royals, including Princess Eugenie, The Duke of York, The Earl and Countess of Wessex, The Duke and Duchess of Gloucester, and the Duke and Duchess of Kent. Members of the Queen’s extended family were present as well, including her cousin, Lady Helen Taylor, and Prince Michael of Kent, and his son and daughter-in-law, Lord Freddie Windsor and his wife Sophie.
Mike and Zara Tindall were also spotted going into the Palace with their young daughter Mia, who would have proved good company for Prince George. The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall were the last guests to arrive for the 1 o’clock lunch. Most guests opted to arrive in separate cars.
This is the last time that the family will be together before The Queen and Prince Philip leave for Sandringham, where they will spend the holiday. As is tradition, it is from there that Her Majesty will deliver her annual Christmas Broadcast.