Sunday, 25 December 2016

The Cambridges Enjoy a Bucklebury Christmas

Seasons greetings to you all! The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge took George and Charlotte to church on Christmas Day for the first time at St Mark's in Englefield this morning.


They were joined by the Middletons and Pippa's fiancé James Matthews.


It was certainly a treat when I saw the photos as reporters were told last year it would be "several years" before George or Charlotte would attend the Christmas service. Perhaps they felt St Mark's offered a more informal setting for their first festive attendance.


Fresh from a morning of present opening with George and Charlotte, the group made the short drive to church for the service where they enjoyed Christmas carols and a festive atmosphere with neighbours and other Berkshire residents. Richard Palmer reported: "At the service, overseen by The Rev Nick Wynne-Jones, they joined the congregation singing three much-loved carols: Hark the Herald Angels Sing, O Little Town of Bethlehem, and  O Come All Ye Faithful."


Indeed, George and Charlotte will have been thrilled to see Santa's sacks with their names written on them under the tree or under their beds. The Mail Online reports: "Costing £27 each, they were ordered from Selfridges in London and, according to their makers, are ‘large enough to cater for even the most generous amount of Christmas presents'. The sacks are trimmed with a special festive red and cream ticking that is exclusive to the department store. And appropriately, given that they are third and forth in line to the throne, they have a crown printed on them with the words: Express Mail Service Please deliver the enclosed presents to [Name] Delivery date: 25th December If undelivered please return to Father Christmas, the North Pole." A lovely treat for the children!


It has been reported the couple plan to continue alternating the festivities between Sandringham with the Royal family and hosting Christmas at their country home Anmer Hall, ensuring time is spent with both families, and like this year, spending Christmas with the Middletons in Bucklebury. The couple last spent the holiday in Bucklebury in 2012, when Kate was expecting George and recovering from Hyperemesis gravidarum. It was reported she very much wanted to spend her last Christmas before motherhood with her family.


This year, it is thought, with it being Pippa Middleton's last Christmas before her wedding to James Matthews in May, the whole family wanted to gather in Bucklebury. The next time we see the group at St Mark's will in fact be Pippa's wedding day - she has chosen to have her wedding there with a reception at the family home.


St Mark's is one of Berkshire's hidden gems and rich in history. The parish church, dedicated to St Mark, consists of a tower and a spire, nave, south aisle, chancel and north aisle (or Englefield Chapel). It was extensively restored by Sir George Gilbert Scott in 1857. In 1868, the tower was added in thirteenth century style, surmounted by a stone broach spire. The earliest part of the church, the nave, dates from about the year 1190, when the Norman was giving way to the Early English style of architecture. The arcade, between the nave and the south aisle, the eastern triple window of the south aisle, the several doorways and the older of the two fonts are good examples of this transitional period. The south doorway within the porch has been renewed. The older parts are early thirteenth century and the hinges are perhaps especially interesting. The hammered iron, curving like the 'C' is thought to stand for St Clement, the patron saint of smiths.


The Duke, Duchess and the Middletons exchanged festive wishes with Rev Nick Wynne-Jones before departing.


Those expressions :)


Kate and Carole look on as Charlotte walks over a steep step.


In her book, Celebrate, Pippa Middleton wrote of the 'magical' Christmases the Middleton family have enjoyed. Following church, the family will return to the manor where a traditional turkey lunch with all the trimmings will be enjoyed. Afterwards, they may take Lupo and the dogs out for an afternoon stroll, and the evening will be spent chatting (most likely about Pippa's wedding), enjoying drinks by the fire, playing board games and watching television specials. The always-reliable Camilla Tominey reports Carole has organised a Boxing Day shoot at the Yattendon estate in nearby Thatcham.


A lovely mother-daughter shot.


Michael and Carole Middleton purchased Bucklebury Manor in 2012. It is a beautiful property, which boasts seven bedrooms and eighteen acres of land, its own tennis courts, an outdoor swimming pool and is set in an area of outstanding natural beauty with its own park and views overlooking the beautiful River Pang. The Georgian manor affords the family privacy and will no doubt provide the backdrop for a relaxing family Christmas.


Over at Sandringham, it's been a particularly difficult Christmas. Very sadly, Zara Tindall lost her second baby, due in spring. Heartbreaking news. Our thoughts and prayers are with Mike and Zara. As you will have heard the Queen and Prince Philip had to delay their plans to travel to Sandringham as they both had heavy colds, and this morning, the Queen was unable to travel to Sandringham for the service - which reporters have described as "unprecedented". Wishing her a speedy recovery.


The royals leaving St. Mary's after the service.


Don't forget Her Majesty's Christmas speech will be broadcast at 3 pm on BBC One, ITV, Sky1, Sky News, and can be listened to on BBC Radio 4. You can also watch it on YouTube.


It's Kate's sixth Christmas as a member of the Royal family. In 2011, the Duchess was regal in a beautifully fitted coat by her independent dressmaker. In 2012, it was her favourite Hobbs coat for service at St Mark's. In 2013, the Duchess opted for her black watch plaid McQueen coat. It was Moloh in 2014, and last year Kate was festive in a green SportsMax coat.


The Duchess opted to repeat the Hobbs 'Celeste' coat she wore Christmas Day in 2012. The £369 brown coat is described: "Wrap up warm in this stunning double crepe wool coat. In a sumptuous seasonal chestnut brown, this coat subtly flares from the hips. It's given an on trend toughened edge thanks to the leather stud fastening, cuff straps and waisted belt". Kate freshened up the piece with the addition of a stole.

Hobbs London

Food Fash Fit suggests Kate wore the ASOS Faux Fur Mini Slot Collar and I think she's right.


Below, a closer look at Kate wearing it in 2012 and again today.


The Duchess teamed the coat with her very popular Tod's Pumps With Fringes. Kate debuted the £267 pair in Canada. The shoes feature an almond toe, fringed detailing and metal buckle on the toe, with leather insole.


It looks like Kate accessorised with the Queen's diamond and pearl earrings - they have been loaned to her several times this year.


A closer look at Kate's Mulberry clutch.


How darling did George and Charlotte look today? George looked very traditional in a long grey coat and navy socks while Charlotte was cute as a button in a navy coat. Both looked very pleased with their candy canes as they left church :)


You can watch a video on YouTube.


As we prepare to say goodbye to 2016, I would like to sincerely thank each and every one of you who visited 'Duchess Kate Blog' this year. I am incredibly grateful and very much look forward to following the Duchess with you in 2017. With that, I'm off to help my mum with Christmas lunch.

A very Happy Christmas to you all. I hope it's a fabulous day!

372 comments:

  1. Merry Christmas Charlotte and all of the readers too!!

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    1. Merry Christmas! I'm about to go to my mother's for brunch, and then my sister's for dinner. HO HO HO!

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    2. Bluhare are you still alive, after TWO Christmas' meals in ONE DAY?

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    3. Merry Christmas! Thank you for the time and effort you spend to bring us all the details on the royal family.

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    4. Does anyone remember the Christmas episode of "The Vicar of Dibley" in which
      the Vicar was so weighed down after agreeing to meals with three different parish families that she had to take a taxi to get to the vicarage across the street?

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  2. Firstly, I want to give my condolences to Mike and Zara Tindall & their family during this difficult time...such sad news :( Also I wish the Queen a quick recovery. I just watched HM's Christmas message this evening (NZ time) and I really appreciated the uplifting words she gave after the tumultuous year (in the rather blunt words of Helen Mirren!) that 2016 has been.

    Thank you for the speedy post Charlotte, hope you and all the readers here are having a wonderful Christmas! What a lovely treat to see everyone on Christmas Day...the Cambridge children are absolutely darling!! Their outfits are so smart and adorable, I especially love the pics of them with their candy canes...looks like they deserved it after their good behaviour at church ;)

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    1. I was going to mention that, too. My parish does not give out sweets to children, but perhaps they should! It certainly rewards good behaviour. Positive reinforcement will also make little children tolerate lengthy church services.

      I've read that William and Kate gave their staff the holidays off. That could also explain why George and Charlotte were at church. And what a wonderful job they did!

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    2. They did do superbly Sumi. I remember those days. lol.

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  3. Very nice to see them all on Christmas Day! Very sorry to hear the sad news about Zara and Mike Tindall and Zara losing the baby she was expecting in Spring. While I do not comment regularly on this blog due mostly to time, I check this blog almost daily for new postings. You do a great job Charlotte and I thank you. Wishing you and all the readers a very Merry Christmas and a Happy, Healthy and Prosperous 2017!!

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  4. Julia from Leominster25 December 2016 at 13:01

    My favourite photos today is of Harry doing what royals do best, engaging the crowd who has waited so patiently in the cold for the royal family to walk by and loved the photo of Harry with the dog. Adorable. I haven't been comfortable with the speed of his current romance, but it is impossible not to love his way with people.

    I hope the queen is making a good recovery and was so pleased to see Philip well enough to attend. That is a man who knows the meaning of duty.

    Camilla looked lovely in her blue coat - not often I say that about her. Louise is turning into a beautiful young woman. It was nice to see Anne with Peter's daughter. I feel so badly for Zara.

    After the queen's sixty years of duty of putting her nation over her own personal wishes, her family should have had the top headlines and not be required to compete with anyone else, even if she is ill and unable to attend. But it is Christmas and I'm having a lovely time with my family and will say nothing more about another ordinary family attending church.

    I have a fake fur collar similar to that of Kate Middleton's.

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    1. Agree, Julia. I was surprised to see the Queen not at church today. She must be quite ill with that cold, although I suspect it's really the flu. I have a friend in London who's been hit with what is probably the same thing and she's been quite ill for a few days now -- and she's a lot younger than the Queen! It was good to see the Duke of Edinburgh there. You're so right. No matter your opinion of him (and he's said some appalling things over the years) one thing you can't fault him for is taking his role as support to the Queen seriously.

      I was hoping that Zara lost the baby before now, and they announced it when they could cope with the publicity. Such a sad thing to happen, and especially at Christmas. Hopefully little Mia took their minds off it a bit today.

      And Harry with that dog . . . he's a Jack Russell Terrier, and we lost our 16 year old JRT in June. It made me smile to see him with that dog all decked out for Christmas. And with the old age pensioner too. I'm not sure I'd give up my warm Christmas inside for a glimpse of the royals, but I'm glad he stopped and it looked like he made her very happy. That's what it's all about, isn't it?

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    2. William,Kate and the children are also the Queen's family, not "another ordinary family."

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    3. Julia

      I agree about Harry and loved Camilla's coat as well.

      I watched the Queen's 2016 speech, and I think it is one of the best, I loved her saying how one can do small things with great love! That is her exactly!

      Merry Christmas Julia!

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    4. Queen highlights the importance of ordinary folks in her speech. Also highlights the work of Williams ambulance organization. Shows subtle approval.

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    5. He's ordinary until his in-laws use their royal connections to have a special Boxing Day shoot Julia.
      Others may not see it but they are on the road to disaster, possibly taking the crown down with them.
      You cannot be royal and ordinary at the same time. Mark my words this will not fly.

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    6. Happy Christmas to everyone. Sincerely hope you are all enjoying with your families with love, kindness and true spirit of compassion. Not the spitefulness that I'm appalled to be reading here especially on Christmas Day. Thank you Charlotte for taking time to bring us news on the Cambridge family. I hope they are enjoying the season with the Middletons because they truly are a very loving and happy family. Ordinary? It doesn't matter. As the Queen said, you can be ordinary but do things with love. That makes ordinary people special.

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    7. I can't help but wonder what the rest of "the firm" must be thinking. Putting on the public face, greeting well wishers, while two future "bosses" are MIA.
      George should have made his Christmas debut with the royals.
      It's the drip drip drip syndrome, none of this seems like much on its own, but the cumulative effect could be devastating.
      This must be privately exasperating to Charles and the Queen, they gave them an inch and they took a mile.

      Kate looks lovely, so do the children, they're a beautiful family. But this entire scene is out of place and has a Duke and Duchess of Windsor feel to it if I'm being honest.

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    8. Anon 14.23

      I help you to find a mean and pity commenter here, it is not Julia, far from it. She stated many times, she is a monarchist and not an ordinary "Kate fan".

      Going back to being whatever you call it, for example the person who comments on the fashion picks of 19 people out of 20, but leaves one out because she had an altercation with the 20th. Now, how pity and mean is that in the spirit of Christmas, I am asking.

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    9. Anon 18.58

      You raised some really interesting points. Food for thought for sure!

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    10. 18:58,

      Interesting how we have different takes on things. I saw William and Kate in Englefield as a strengthing thing. A broader base for even more foundational strength, not a drip, drip scenario at all. I think Charles and the Queen must view it as a good thing also or they wouldn't have invited the Middletons to Balmoral, Ascot, the barge celebrations, church on Balmoral and church on Sandringham. All of those things were historic and a strong show of support of Kate's family, connotating not only approval of their roles in William and Kate's life but overtures of personal friendship.

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    11. Regarding Harry and Meghan. It might seem like a fast romance. They have dated since July though. How many of us dated our spouse for 10 years before marrying them? How long did Queen Elizabeth date Prince Phillp before marriage? And wasn't there a considerable amount of controversy about Elizabeth dating Phillip? Ahhh, the way of true love isn't always classic textbook. I do agree though, that to ensure a more stable monarchy, Meghan and Harry's relationship should stand the test of time and the rigors of media and protocol before they walk the aisle. That may not take long, as Meghan has had exposure to a lot of media already. The Royal discretion and protocol aspects might be a little trickier for her.

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    12. Julia from Leominster25 December 2016 at 23:51

      I don't know if there was a deleted comment here that I missed. I know my views aren't popular and I will take any insult anyone wishes to throw - without returning them but my comments weren't made out of meanness but a deep worry - already the mere fact of the queen being ill, is encouraging republicans - who see the Middletons and especially Carole as a wrapped Christmas gift.
      While mystique of royalty is gone forever, there still remains a line - delicate and very vulnerable line between ordinary people and royalty. And without an understanding and acceptance of history and tradition -there is no difference!
      Those who breech that line put the monarchy at risk. Motives made be good - the Duke of Windsor was no doubt deeply in love with Wallis - but marriage to her wasn't compatible with the crown. Margaret tried to mix being royal and ordinary with disastrous effect.
      I used the word ordinary today intentionally because today that's what that young couple and their two little ones became. They stood apart from the family that gives them their position and became just another nice couple going to church.
      Royalty is a balancing act. It gives unique opportunities and privileges not given to anyone in the land - rich or poor. In exchange, it demands sacrifices - putting the welfare of your country before your personal wishes. They aren't alone in this as anyone in the forces or working in hospital or rescue services (except a certain someone) have to do this. But it does mean an important distinction must be made.
      I don't put much of the blame for my current worry on William and Kate - Charles by putting his personal wishes first has deeply weakened the monarchy - in spite of his extremely hard work. Others like Andrew have done enormous damage. Today, affection for the monarchy is resting heavily on a very elderly couple and family unity is vital. That means thoughtful members of those who marry into the family - no matter who they are - need to accept a loving but out of sight role. Wise ones like Sophie's father and late mother.
      George won't remember this Christmas. But as he grows older, if he wants to be king, he is going to have to appreciate that delicate line for the monarchy to survive. Deference equals duty. Privileges and prerogatives equal sacrifices because only then will the public accept those privileges. We all know that the queen has felt that she would have liked to have been a simple country lady with dogs and horses but she knew more was demanded of her - as it is of William.
      For my whole life, I have watched royal Christmases. Today I saw one necessarily missing the most important person of the present but also minus the future - to take the children to Christmas services for the first time outside the royal family circle says just one thing - that they are ordinary kids. Not ordinary people who have done exceptional things with no privileges granted in return like the queen referred to - just ordinary. Because being royal doesn't come from putting on a tiara, or a garter, it comes from what you do, and whether you put duty before personal wishes, even if those wishes seem innocent - for they are one more step across that line.

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    13. I don't think we would have seen George and Charlotte had the Cambridge's stayed at Anmer Hall. This relaxed Christmas celebration made it possible to include two young (and unpredictable...especially Charlotte) children in the church service.

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    14. Julia,
      Merry Christmas to and yours. At last now I am enjoying Christmas for the day. One of my immediate young family members was away on a trip, did not call of whereabouts and I was partly in gloom. That person is now safely home. In the meant time, I could not believe the Queen's Christmas message held me on. She drew inspiration from Mother Theresa, and in return making it the theme to inspire others. Comfort comes from the least expected sources. I give her credit for Christmas 2016 next to the church service.

      Now, to the other reason I responded to your post. With all due respect to your citizenship and tradition to your country and place of priority you place for the Queen, life as well as Monarchy is as much about the future too. Her great grandchildren were with "the ordinary family". May be another reason it competed for the headline beyond W&K bringing interest to BRF in the millennium. People should be mindful the cake can’t be eaten and be had too. Kate’s family had been very much in the couple’s lives for life’s reality for worse or better.

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    15. You can’t have Monarchy without the will of “the ordinary people”. Any solid rebellion of “the ordinary people” can erode Monarchy. The current affairs of W&K on world stage, is a marriage of the ordinary with the extraordinary, an interestingly accepted “politics” for the times. In the couple’s case, it is love which reigned over traditional expectation and/or misconception.

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    16. Playing devil's advocate but maybe everyone was okay with the kids debuting this year. Specifically this year. A few weeks ago the Firm releases a great pic of the Queen and her Successor and now you have the third, fourth, and fifth in lin, moving as one loving unit. Especially since the Queen is sick, it's not a bad idea to distract with the really cute kids. Takes some heat off Zara and family and lets them grieve a bit more privately and distracts from the Queen being too ill to go to church. That it's Kate's family might be a coincidence.

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    17. 18:58, you really made me think. I can only hope this ends well, and the choice to alternate Christmas celebrations is a wise one.
      On another note, Prince George looks so much like Diana and her brother. They both have that "looking up from beneath their hair/fringe" kind of look. It's the only way I can describe it.
      I wonder if they talk a lot about the media within the family? George looks hesitantly at the cameras before stepping out of church. Just a thought.

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    18. Very well said Anon 15 and I think HM more than anyone realizes that there has to be a shift in things in order for the Monarchy to have a chance of survival. Certain things worked for a different generation but are not as easily acceptable to the present and future generations.

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    19. Julia, I agree with you as always on this topic. You recognize that William and Kate are cogs in a bigger wheel. They are not the wheel itself. That wheel depends on the energy of the public to propel it and right now it's going along on the strength of good will to the Queen.

      As to the "spiteful" remarks, they sound a bit miffed. Perhaps a comment wasn't published. It's quite unusual for a new poster on the board to come out with guns blazing like that. I suspect Renny has been around for quite some time in quite a few disguises. Sort of like the wizard behind the curtain. Big tricks, but not much to back them up.

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    20. Julia from Leominster26 December 2016 at 15:04

      bluhare,I'm so sorry to hear about your Jack Russell. It is so hard to lose a beloved dog and the fact they are old also means they have been so long in your life. My condolences to you and your pup. (I believe the queen lost her last corgi this year too, although she still has two dorgis. One think I noticed about The Crown is that so often it is corgi-free - filming needs I suppose.)
      royalfan, I agree that the queen has never encouraged the attendance of small children at church and I have long felt that's a mistake, taking an example of European royal families, particularly the Swedes and the Belgium, where delightful photos are shown. (and lots of charming photos around of European royals together - minus any in-laws.)
      I would have been glad to see the children - at Sandringham. (Startled to read Kate took the children for communion. Generally, that comes after Confirmation or at least when the children are considered old enough to appreciate the ritual. But I don't know the traditions at Bucklebury.)
      The marriage of the ordinary and extraordinary has always been a huge problem for the royal family - although it has almost always started with huge public support until a step too far was taken and public support crashed. It's worth remembering that Edward VIII was hugely popular as a "man of the people" at the time of the abdication. Margaret was seen as delightfully fresh, until she went too far; Andrew and Sarah were once a breath of fresh air, a mixing of the ordinary and extraordinary until it turned to a sirocco. (I remember that very well!)
      So William and Kate went to church with her family and seized most of the attention from where some of us old royal-watchers thought it should lie - the traditional walk at Sandringham, and the traditional winter show of royal unity whether at Sandringham or Windsor as in the past. (The Trooping is the other such show.) It seems innocent and charming but William and Kate didn't choose to marry at Bucklebury - they married at Westminster Abbey. They stepped into the extraordinary at that point and would do well to stay there because it is so very easy to go too far the other way. In the future there could be some adaption of traditions - possibly more public light could be shed on that yearly Christmas gathering at Buckingham Palace where now we get just car shots (and where according to rumours, William, petulant and frightening childish, apparently turned on his wipers to try to ruin the press photo. Trivial, yet unnerving in its implications for a man expected to be a future king.)

      But for now we have a very elderly queen who has gone out of her way to be gracious to Kate's all too prominent family. Respecting her traditions, even if she is too unwell to do so herself would seem kind and right. From years of royal observing, I don't think she ever demands that family members do so, she leaves it to their judgment. But I'm sure she would have loved to see William and Kate at Sandringham, the place she loves so much and where she gave them a home.
      One place many royalists say the ordinary/extraordinary line was crossed was with Diana, but I would argue that's not the case - or would not have been if the marriage was a success. Diana actually seemed to have a very good understanding of royal tradition and brought out the more modern aspects in her work-style, whilst still hewing to tradition. And even though she is known to have manipulated the press (with an artfulness William and Kate lack) after the separation, she never competed at Christmas - she stayed out of sight when she was not at Sandringham. There were times she was accused of taking too much attention from the queen but that was due to her own magnetism, rather than any breaking of royal boundaries.

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    21. I agree with the person who said that with George and Charlotte attending church in Englefield the focus on the Queen's absence and illness and Zara's situation was somewhat abated media-wise. So that was a plus, not a minus. (I do not think that the children would have been taken to church on Sandringham.)

      I do not perceive William and Kate and the children attending church in Englefield as making them "an ordinary family" at all.

      I perceive them as a "Royal family" attending church in Englefield with extended family. Not to equate church with polo, but if they were attending polo in that area of many polo fields, they, to me wouldn't be "an ordinary family" attending polo, but a "Royal family" attending polo. They are, by virtue of birth and heritage, a Royal family no matter where they are.

      (And didn't another Royal family, visit the woman's family in Argentina for Christmas, even with an "aged Queen" at home?)

      And I do not equate Wiliam's marriage to Wallace Simpson or Margaret's husband. If Diana and her family had been afforded the privileges and love that are so respectfully and thoughtfully being bestowed upon Kate and her family things would have been so much better. I think that is William's impetus and goal, to truly "learn from mistakes made in the past". And he is succeeding in that. Thankfully.

      The monarchy will survive and thrive. If it made it past George IV, etc. etc., it will very much thrive with assets like William and Kate.

      The myriad of criticisms about the Royal family are not anything new under the sun. Those criticisms have been around, in one form or another, as long as the Monarchy has.

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    22. Julia,
      Correction: Merry Christmas to you and yours.
      It was posted on Christmas day with sincere intention. I learnt a lesson to post one or two days ahead of holidays on this blog. Not only the time difference, Charlotte can’t be expected to post throughout the day especially on Christmas. For some of us, there are two Christmases, one for our environment /Western calendar, and another for Orthodox Christmas on January 7. December 25 arrives too soon while planning for January 7.
      I wish you, Charlotte, everyone and all your beloved in this community a joyful and healthy Holiday Season.

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    23. Julia at 23:51,

      The Queen's message is "ordinary people" “doing extra ordinary things”. Her very speech had defined the very Christmas theme and experience of the dynamics in her own family for 2016. The Middletons had been ordinary people who had brought themselves to an extraordinary status not just by association, but action. It takes perseverance, discipline, hard work, patience, love, hope and faith to have stood the test of time, marriage and class differences. They continue to be a great support if not one of the pillars for the future of British Monarchy. As the Queen put it, they are one of the “the unsung heroes". The basis of Monarchy is territorial domination, winning wars, governance, tradition, history administration, politics, PR etc. Like it or not, Monarchy is obviously the right by heredity, no matter which descendants continue it. To me the Middletons are their own kind of “royals of this day and age.” It is all relative and what is valued, and they happen to at the right time.

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    24. Very well put, Anon15. Life in modern monarchy should be one that is relatable to the next generation. There is admiration and understanding in William and Kate's decision to spend this Christmas with the in-laws, and as illustrated in HM's speech, in William's job which makes him work with "ordinary" people.

      Katie, I am sure the extended family, especially the Queen, knew the Cambridges' Christmas plans. In the end I think it provided a distraction and a ray of hope from the gloomy news that surrounded Christmas in the royal family. The press was obviously happy too!

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    25. I do not see the Middletons doing anything extraordinary. I would not mention their achievement on the same day with athletes or unsung heroes.

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    26. Thank you, Julia. That day was one of the worst. Our little dog was my best friend, and while we have a new dog now she's adopted my husband as her bestie. So I don't have my little canine buddy any more. The cat is substituting in her own inimitable way. :)

      As far as the queen meaning the Middletons as unsung heroes, I almost laughed. What have they done for the good of the world? I am not surprised she did not say no to William's decision to go to Bucklebury. She's not known for saying no to family, is she? Interesting she did not have their photos displayed during her holiday message, although her husband and Charles certainly were. William and George were the obvious omissions.

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    27. Attending Christmas is not an affaire of state (like the Trooping), it is a family affair. Yes the royal family has a long tradition of spending Christmas together at Sandringham, but that doesn't mean they have the prerogative on family tradition.
      The same goes for attending church like an 'ordinary family'. Attending church on Chritmas is a private act of worship, again not representing the crown (unlike a service commemorating a war). I am sure they would have preferred that the media did not even report on them, but they tried unsuccessfully in 2012 to prevent the publication of photos, and probably realised that although it is a private act of worship, it is in a public space and they cannot control photos.

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    28. I think I realized this Christmas that I am also a "royalist" more than a K&W fan! (I follow lots of the royal families, and especially enjoy the Swedes and Danes) I like royals to be--well, royals, with tradition a big part of that interest. Otherwise they're just more turnip toffs. Of course I liked seeing the children in their adorable holiday outfits, but something just feels very--off about it all, seeing the two sets of Christmas photos, one the royals at Sandringham as usual, and one--not. I've had a sinking feeling about it all for a while, hope it is just a momentary perception

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    29. Julia from Leominster27 December 2016 at 01:47

      The minute the Middletons become "royal" I become a republican but I don't think that will happen. Pippa is a celebrity of sorts - the rest just the family of someone who married into a royal family - which shouldn't and doesn't give unusual prerogatives. (One of the biggest arguments against William's marriage to Kate was her family wouldn't know how to go on in the way aristocrats would and would presume too much. T thought it quite a snobbish argument but am wondering now.)
      The Middletons remain ordinary, just like the Spencers, Camilla's children, and the families of all the people who have married European royals - we don't see Letizia's, Mette-Marit's, Mathilde's, or Daniel's parents except at Christenings or occasionally on seaside holidays or private events like weddings. The Middletons putting themselves forward have made them, once admired for their discretion, now very unpopular. - a hint that royal support unrelated to Kate went to the Middletons would be a nightmare as would the idea they had the slightest influence over anything royal. (One of the biggest reasons for a firm separation.)

      I took the queen's 'ordinary' remarks to mean people who give without taking - volunteers, especially those with little themselves or who work and still volunteer, carers and other unsung people - William and Kate take far more than they give of their time - and sing like canaries. I would never link them to ordinary people who help others - it would be an insult to those people. I'm certain the queen mentioned William's work with an eye on the succession - but his excuse for not working on Christmas was that attending a royal Christmas was a duty - no such excuse this year.I suspect the "ordinary"people who cover William's shifts may not feel too cheerful about him but wouldn't speak for fear of their jobs.

      The next generation is the one asking a lot of questions - why are these people different - why are they "superior" to us (and receive great privileges because of that.) Today such republican sentiment is becoming outspoken especially amongst the young and those new to Britain. I would answer the long history of the royal family and the traditions that go with that are something of great value coupled with a strong dedication to royal duties and representation to the nation that stands (in theory) outside politics. I think most people still want a royal family but are concerned about individual members and their commitment to the institution.

      The monarchy has always runs risks with unpopular members from before George IV to Andrew today and has always managed to recover, usually by pulling back into the royal paradigm people want and sidelining those who failed to conform. But the world is quite different now in many ways from social media to the possibility of referendums and many royal houses have fallen.
      As for me, I've not felt happy as a royalist this month - but hope that in February - or even sooner - William and Kate will do something to pleasantly surprise me and others - royal Easter might be a thought.

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    30. One would think that a monarchist would support the heirs to the throne. I certainly question the actions of Charles and Andrew (who was second in line for years). But I do not understand the constant harangue against William, who has avoided the awful mistakes of his father and uncle, and built a loving marriage and family, while finding a way to carry out royal duties, support vital causes, and contribute to society via his professional expertise.

      Total lack of sourced support for various accusations concerns me deeply. Comparisons of the Cambridge and Philips children, talk of a Middleton court, and even accusations over Prince William's wiper blade are unprovable and unfair. (It was raining! If he cleared the windscreen, the pictures would be more clear, not less clear.)

      What the Daily Mail said about the future was actually interesting. Perhaps there will be a more relaxed court someday, one that allows little children to go to church on Christmas. Perhaps a monarch will not be criticized for kindness to a grandson's wife's family.

      And that brings me to another fact, which is apparently unknown to younger readers. Diana's family was close to the royal family. She grew up in the Spencer home on the Sandringham estate until her father became the Earl and moved to the family manor. He was an aide to the Queen, pictured with her and Prince Philip during their long Commonwealth tour in the early 1950s. Later, Diana's brother in law was the Queen's private secretary, and caused Diana grief. On another side, Diana's sister Sarah was one of her ladies in waiting and was supportive. There were problems that started with Diana's own grandmother, who was a lady in waiting to the Queen Mother. One cannot say that she would have been better off if the Spencers had been better treated - as figures in the court and neighbors, they were!

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    31. Julia - I totally get what you are saying. Look the pictures are charming, the kids are gorgeous, the outfits, perfect, the candy canes, omg how cute. But the BIGGER picture, I agree gives one pause. Maybe as I get older I better appreciate how rare a thing consistency is but it feels to me in a time of breathtaking change, there is something to be valued in having things be "as they were." I do not ask that HRH live a life that is emotionally wooden, or that the Middleton's be cast aside, far from it, but the Royal Family is more than just a "family." Anyway, I won't try to restate what you said so well Julia...I just wanted you to know I "get it" and I agree, and, for that matter, I don't see your comments as churlish or unkind. Far from it. I see you as trying, thoughtfully, to sound a clarion call of caution, before it is too late.

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    32. Actually Julia, we see Daniels parents here and there. They (and the other inlaws) were at the Kings birthday dinner and in the portrait with crowned heads they were also posed in the same picture. Chris and Madeleine when being on official buissness up in the country near where Daniels parents is from, they showed up at some event. THe King and Queen were at some opera event in Europe as part of a tour and Chris mother was there as well. And for christenings etc Daniels mother has been company to estelle, on top of Nanny. THey seem very involved.

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    33. A monarchist supports the monarchy and wants it to continue. It is not blind support no matter what. It is support for the institution as a whole despite any weak links. Imagine if Edward VIII had stayed King. Elizabeth might have been curtseying to Hitler.

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    34. Julia, can we call the Spencers ordinary?

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    35. First time posting here. The commentary and the posts are so thoughtful throughout this site, so I'd like to throw in my two cents.

      To me, it made perfect sense for William and Kate to take their children to Kate's family home and local church for Christmas. It does sound like the Middleton family's Christmas traditions are so much more cozy and down to earth and magical, and who wouldn't want that for their little ones!

      The formality of Sandringham sounds very cold and would be a huge turn off to little kids -- not to mention adults! :D And in particular, I think George, 3, is at that age to have Xmas memories embedded in him for the rest of his life. Three-four years old is such an important age for creativity and imagination.

      So looking at it from their point of view, I think they made a good move and shows me once again how great Kate is with her kids, and children in general.

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    36. You equate Edward VIII to William? really?

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    37. I agree regarding the Queen's speech, that it included volunteer involvement and had a broader perspective. Her speech regarding the unknown who came to factor in and including unsung heroes may not exclude the Middleton depending on points of view. Much is an interpretation of the beholder.

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    38. Anon @ 14:44, I very much agree. To me, that is only logical. Thanks.

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    39. I'm glad you chimed in, Rebecca, because I have seen Prince Daniel's parents present on many, many royal occasions.

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    40. 14:44, I agree with your comment.

      Regarding Diana and the Spencer family's connection to the RF, it does seem like night and day to consider the family's loyalty to the Firm over their own blood on a few occasions. THANK GOD that William is stepping up as a husband and father. He will be a better king for it.

      And how odd that W&K are supposed to follow the lead of the more relaxed European royals, yet when they attend church with in-laws vs. the RF for only the second time since they were married, suddenly, they are a threat to the crown. The irony would be funny if not for the potential damage involved in consistently undermining this couple.

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    41. Thank you Julia and Bluehare for your thoughtful responses. I agree with you. I am a monarchist and my first loyalty is to the monarchy. It is an institution that I value and respect and I see continue. While I love individual members of the royal family my true loyalty is with the 'whole'. When done well, the monarchy can do tremendous good for the population. I admire HM and the DofE for their tireless work for the country and Commonwealth. My respect of Charles is growing and I now believe that he has great potential to be a very good king. My admiration for William and Kate is being overshadowed by concern.

      When I saw the pictures of their Christmas walk to church, I saw wonderful family photos but I also saw the signs of a rival court, especially when it was known that the royal family also does a Christmas walk to church. It seemed too much of a coincidence. I know that is an unpopular opinion but I must add voice to it. Julia eloquently stated the risk of William and Kate and family appearing "ordinary" and the risks associated with that, which was another angle that I hadn't thought of. Regardless, I found these photos unsettling.

      I feel like William and Kate are flirting with a dangerous line here. This is not about sharing Christmases between families (Kate should be involved with her family but it is a matter of how it is done). This is about supporting the institution of which William is a member and into which Kate willingly married. I fear that poignant point is getting lost. They were not only not present in Sandringham, they created a distraction especially as they know that the children are rarely seen in public and that there would be interest. As a monarchist, I am beginning to wonder if their true loyalties really lie with the monarchy. I shudder as I write that, but it is what am beginning to fear. I am hopeful for their future decisions as they do have abundant opportunity to do good and energize the monarchy.

      As Sir David Attenborough stated, "If you show that royalty is the same as we are, the consequence is that we no longer understand why we should invest royalty with all which we do invest them."

      Walter Bagehot (author of The English Constitution) wrote, "The influence of the Crown is not confined merely to political affairs. England is a domestic country. Here home is revered and the hearth sacred. The nation is represented by a family - the Royal Family - and if the family is educated with a sense of responsibility and a sentiment of public duty, it is difficult to exaggerate the salutary influence they may exercise over a nation."

      I quote the

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    42. From this discussion and having followed this blog, it seems a matter of what kind of Monarchist a person is. I believe there are a handful of traditionalist monarchists who stand their ground. It is the variety which makes the world interesting. Different countries have different kinds. Monarchy is interesting on case by case basis. The myth which is built around it and the aura it creates is a mastery of old world PR for a purpose. Sometimes it is practical, and other times it should be questioned.

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  5. Deser Charlotte, thank you for your blog and joy you brought me every day. It was really difficult year for me and being here was my happy place. Thank you very much and Merry Christmas to you and your family.

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  6. What an incredibly speedy post. I hope HM is well soon. And my heart breaks for Zara.

    I have so very much enjoyed the fashion aspect of the blog this past year but equally love the amazing background and history for each post that you've provided. Truly first class! A million warm thank yous to a job well done here on the blog. A very Merry Christmas to you!

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  7. Absolutley precious family! So happy they seem to have a nice christmas!

    I really like the familys whole look. And Kate looks great! Very festive. And her hair looks fantastic! And those shoes again! Perfect!

    Christmas with the royals really seems to have been dampened this year. I feel so absolutley sorry for Zara and Mike. What an absolute tradgedy. And hope the Queen recovers fast and soon!

    Happy Holidays from Sweden. I'm now sluggish after yasterdays very cozy Christmas and wish you all the same!

    Thank you again Charlotte for all the great work you've done during the year! You are a star!

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    1. Julia from Leominster26 December 2016 at 15:06

      Glad you had a happy Christmas Rebecca, know what you mean about sluggish! Hope you have a wonderful New Year. Your remarks are always thoughtful and gracious, even if I don't always agree.

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    2. Thank you Darling Julia! You know I feel very much the same! <3

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  8. What lovely photos, thanks for the quick post Charlotte! It's nice to see William and Kate with her family, and the children look so cute especially with their candy canes when they're coming out of the church! They must have felt that George and Charlotte could cope with a church service and perhaps it was a less formal affair than Sandringham would have been.

    It's so sad to hear the news about Zara and Mike's baby, and that the Queen is not well. Let's hope 2017 brings them all good health and recovery for Zara after such an emotionally devastating experience.

    Wishing all of you on the blog, and you especially Charlotte, a wonderful new year - peace and goodwill to all. As I write this post, Christmas day is finished for us here in Australia, and I'm about to head off to bed! Best wishes to all.

    Fiona in Australia

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    1. And here in Washington State, we've just got up to Christmas Day.

      Happy Boxing Day!

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    2. I suspected they would bring the kids along, unlike at Sandrinham, because if they really wanted a relaxed family Christmas it would make sense to give the nanny off. But that does mean nobody at home to leave the kids with.
      It does however create the expectation that we will see them at Christmas every year from now on.

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  9. Merry Christmas from Ghana to you Charlotte and to all the other readers!

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  10. Sarah from Calif.25 December 2016 at 14:04

    Merry Christmas everyone !

    Beautiful family pictures :)

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  11. Charlotte, you are an absolute doll to put this up on your Christmas Day. It was such a treat. Thank you!!!

    My heart breaks for the Tindalls. I hope being with family brings some joy to them today.

    Princess Charlotte could just be the Queen's mini-me, couldn't she? The children were both adorable, but I was especially taken with Charlotte today.

    Merry Christmas to you and all your readers!

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  12. What a lovely treat to see the Cambridge family this Christmas. It's been a rather sad few days for them hearing Zara's miscarriage. I hope the Queen is doing well. She needs to rest above all and I think it's a good decision to keep herself indoors and not too busy.

    George and Charlotte are so adorable. There is a photo you missed of Charlotte sticking her candy cane to the ground. That would be my favourite of all. Merry Christmas!

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  13. Merry Christmas to you Charlotte from Paris, France.

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  14. I'm sorry the Queen is so ill, I hope Philip is not overdoing it when he should be resting. So sad for Zara and Mike and all their family in their loss.
    Does it look like Kate's mother has an injured arm under her cape? Her left arm is visible but the right looks like it may be in a sling.

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    1. I thought the same thing. In another photo though she has that arm out and is using it. So she is shown in photos using both arms. She did the same thing when she wore a cape the evening she attended the theater with Pippa and her fiancé.

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  15. Ditto to the comments already posted--especially the condolences and the best wishes for Her Majesty's speedy recovery. It must be vexing for her as it's never fun to be ill. She will likely feel she has let down people who love to see her on this day. Also, as Christmas is her favourite time of year, it's an additional disappointment not to be fully into the festivities.

    I thought I would reprise ('tis but once a year) the poem I created for the blog last year. Merry Christmas to you all, with best wishes for a Happy New Year. And for Charlotte, heaps of love and gratitude!

    ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas on Duchess Kate Blog
    By Philly

    ‘Twas the night before Christmas on Duchess Kate Blog
    When readers were scrolling, their eyes all agog.
    Our parcels were wrapped and stockings were hung,
    And the long chimes of midnight about to be rung.

    Our houses now silent with all fast asleep
    Except we readers taking one more “last peep.”
    Royalfan in her kerchief and Julia in her cap,
    Are in no mood tonight for a long winter’s nap.

    Out in the ether there still is much chatter
    And a flock of anons are still having at ’er.
    The hair is too messy, the skirt way too short,
    The sledges are boring, and the jeans get a snort.

    The Duchess looks tired. Oh give her a break.
    She’s gorgeous in anything, for pity’s sake.
    A coat button pulling on a garment bespoke
    Or Corkswoon wedges make some people choke.

    Then others are here ignoring the comments
    Just relishing bags and jewels and bonnets,
    Or loving the glances between husband and wife
    And two little toddlers who spice up their life.

    Perhaps Charlotte’s added a last minute shot,
    Historical feature, poll or bon mot.
    Sure, morning will bring a procession to church
    But now we have time for “just one more” search.

    Are there pregnancy rumours or a marital spat
    Or is Bluhare finally eating her hat?
    Maybe there’s something somebody dissed,
    Whatever it is, it’s not to be missed.

    Maybe a Repli-Kate item to buy
    Or a tiara to view with a wistful sigh.
    It’s a wondrous addiction for most of us here
    Our crack, our wine, our spirits, our cheer.

    I laugh when I think it, in spite of myself,
    This dependence has spread through the Commonwealth.
    Tomorrow Charlotte will be back to work
    Offering us all perk after perk.

    Shots of the monarch, the family, the princess—
    Glamour, tradition and splendor of Christmas.
    May the royals in Sandringham and this family online
    Delight in a Christmas both merry and fine.

    And to Charlotte especially a wish for Good Cheer
    And everything splendid in a Happy New Year!



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    1. Thank you Philly. And also thank you Charlotte. I do enjoy your blog. My best wishes to all on the blog for the season and hope for a more loving and harmonious New Year.

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    2. Thanks for the poem Philly, you made my Boxing Day!

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    3. Philly you earned a Laureateship with your Christmas Poem! Thank you and a Merry Cristmas to you and to all the readers and posters and, of course, the Owner of the Bentley of Blogs, Lady Charlotte.

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    4. That is awesome!!!!

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    5. Philly, you are so clever! Thank you for your special poem.

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    6. I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas! :))

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    7. Loved the poem! Thank you xxx

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    8. Julia from Leominster26 December 2016 at 15:07

      A wonderfully clever poem Philly, love seeing it appear again and happy new year's wishes for all.

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    9. That is just terrific. Merry Christmas!

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    10. I love this, thank you Philly :)

      A huge thank you for all the very kind Christmas wishes. I hope you're all having a wonderful time.

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    11. Glad you posted this again, Philly. A worthy replay. I enjoyed it even more this time around.

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  16. Christmas blessings to everyone and sincere prayers for a blessed new year.

    Condolences to Zara and her family. Praying a strong and full recovery to Her Majesty. I am astonished that Prince Phillip was there this morning. What an amazing man.

    I had a very strong feeling that Prince George and Princess Charlotte would attend church this morning. What a perfect opportunity to train them up in the way they should go. A perfect little country church is the right venue to let them test their manners. That could help if they are going to be in Pippa's wedding there in May. So glad that William is building those bonds in Bucklebury. What an amazing man.

    Kate's mum, in the top photo, as they get out of the cars, looked like Pippa to me. Carole looked like a twenty year old actually. I like the curls. I am surprised that Donna wasn't there with James. James Matthews seems to be keeping Pippa, and Michael, entertained.

    Thank you Charlotte for another year of "The Bentley of Blogs". It is truly one of our favorite our "happy places". Yahweh richly bless you and your family. ❤️

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    1. Where is Donna Air?? Seems strange not see her there with everyone else, are her & James Middleton still an item?

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    2. Who knows Anon 00.46. She has a daughter and a family of her own. Nothing wrong with her not being in church. For all we know she was there in the afternoon or another day.

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    3. Julia from Leominster26 December 2016 at 15:12

      I would like to think that Donna wanted to spend Christmas with her own family but somehow I can't see her turning down the opportunity of a Middleton Court Christmas - she was probably not seen as grand enough to be with William and Kate. By the reports of his own recent commercial interview, she and James are still together.

      By all reports, the Middletons have been extremely snobbish about their own connections, dropping many of them for not being posh enough. Seeing them as egalitarian is simply wrong.

      I hope Donna does appear at Pippa's wedding and that her daughter, who is said to be very close to James, serves as a bridesmaid.

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    4. Donna seems to like and enjoy the Middletons and likewise. Perhaps she doesn't observe Christmas. Perhaps she will be joining them later.
      James didn't seem distraught over any rifts. The Middletons have no doubt welcomed her with open arms as Jame's choice. I don't see any snootiness or drama there.

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    5. Julia, I am not aware of any legitimate reports, not just speculation, about Donna not being "grand" enough or of the Middleton's snobbishness. ali

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    6. I'm Anon 00:46, thanks for your responses Rebecca and Julia. I was just as surprised as Anon 14:59 above to not see Donna there, as I thought her and James had been dating a while and it would be nice to see them all together, as Pippa's fiance was there also. Good to hear they're still going strong!

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    7. Don't you think it's possible the Middletons have to be careful with who they trust? I would think it's a tight wire act, their daughter is the mother of an heir to the throne. People can be bought for cheap. And isn't Donna Air a journalist?

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    8. I don't think they would snub Donna at all. The Middletons don't seem like snobs at all.
      As for their friends, how do you know they dropped friends for not being posh enough? How could you possibly know that? Your terminology isn't very kind to the Middletons.

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    9. May I ask, in all sincerity, Julia, why you so strongly dislike William, Kate and the Middletons?
      As Sumi and others have mentioned, your choice of words regarding them are often cringe-worthy?
      I personally don't believe anyone deserves that, let alone William, Kate and the Middletons who all seem to do good things for many people. Supporting the Monarchy, to me, would seem to entail building it's members up, not tearing them down. No offense.

      Anne from San Diego

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    10. 1747: A family member interviewed a few years ago said that Carole had dropped members of the family as they weren't posh enough for her now. Unsurprisingly the family member did not mention his/her name. And it's been widely reported that Carole does not like Donna Air.

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    11. 22:07, I disagree.

      Still hearsay, and only hearsay. Again, rather than poshness, I think discretion was the key factor.

      Anne fro San Diego

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    12. Bluhare,

      I read that article and even then it sounded like sour grapes/Jealousy to me. If they were snooty, the Queen would have dropped them like a hot potato from the beginning. But just the opposite has happened. And how would anyone truly confirm any dislike on Carole's part pertaining to Donna Airs? Seems she would welcome whoever James chooses. She doesn't seem like an acrimonious type person.

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    13. Julia,

      "By all reports"? I don't think so. I have read where they are very friendly within their community. Kate invited members of their community to the wedding even. The Middletons invited very "normal" people also. No snootiness in them at all.

      Anne from San Diego

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    14. Julia from Leominster28 December 2016 at 05:35

      non, I neither like or dislike William and Kate. I judge members of the royal family by their actions - not in a personal way. (Camilla is an exception. I do dislike her.) I see William and Kate as a couple who once showed great promise but have yet to live up to that promise although they are now well into their thirties and were given their twenties to do as they wished.
      What I don't like. especially at this time, is a monarchy heavily supported by people who are the age of pensioners. There are two main reasons for this - one, I think it unbecoming to see people in their nineties working extremely hard while younger members don't. I also believe that the lack of young hard-working representatives is harming the monarchy.
      I don't believe that royals and private work mix well and will be thrilled if William gives up his helicopter job. If he lived the lifestyle of a helicopter pilot I might feel differently, but he lives a prince. I have no problem with that as long as he is a full-time prince. If he's not, I do have a problem.
      I'm surrounded by young mums who work and a monarchy is supposed to represent the people in work ethic. While I don't expect Kate to work full-time her numbers are pathetic. I actually believe it would benefit the children, George especially, who is going to have huge work expectations put on him someday, to have a mum who works at least a day or two a week.
      As I have said all along, my feeling about families of royals is they should remain discreetly in the background - whether they are dukes or dustmen. The long-term reason for this is to avoid the impression of influence on a future monarch outside the royal family - but it also divides and weakens the family. There has been mention of the Dutch royal family but the king and his wife have shown enormous closeness to his mother - they even holiday with her - likewise while Daniel's family in Sweden may attend events I don't see Victoria and Daniel going off to spend Christmas day church services with them.
      We now have a very aged queen - I've grown from childhood hearing about royal Christmases. They are obviously done the way the queen wishes. When she dies, perhaps there will be major changes. But for now, that's how it is, and William and Kate's decision to go party with the fun-loving Middletons heaped insults on that royal Christmas for being, stuffy, not child friendly - it was unfavourably compared over and over inevitably in the press. Maybe it's true, but with all the queen has given William and Kate - their entire lifestyle - bluntly, I think they should have lived with it. And doing a rival walk that they knew would take attention away from a ninety-five year old man who even though he has been ill - managed to go to church, was unbecoming in my eyes. I felt that if the Middletons were decent people, they wouldn't have encouraged that - when they could have spent the holidays at Amner.
      I'm not always negative. I often praise William and Kate when they work. I do speak out in this blog because I believe almost all readers here support a monarchy - and even have a very faint hope someone with the possibility of making a difference might take note. Outside of the blog, these days, I rarely discuss the monarchy anymore, having too often found myself in the position of having to defend it without ready answers. I do think most people want a monarchy but I also see a lot of indifference to the members. It was not that way in my youth.



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  17. Julia from Leominster25 December 2016 at 15:11

    I forgot to mention earlier that I very much liked Sophie's red outfit. She must rank as one of my favourite royals and I hope her quiet work, like Anne's, will never go unappreciated.

    A happy Christmas to all here - especially for you, Charlotte and your family but to all readers.

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    1. I totally agree about Sophie. She is my next favorite royal right after Kate. She always dresses so well.

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    2. Julia from Leominster26 December 2016 at 15:16

      Sophie is perhaps my favourite at the moment. She made mistakes, again trying to mix ordinary and extraordinary but she and Edward pulled back successfully, and she does her engagements with such understated charm. By all reports she is very close to the queen and Philip too - one of the most delightful photos was of the queen trying to cut the cake at the WI with Anne and Sophie flanking her.

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    3. She looked lovely but I did think that if Kate had simply worn a dress and no coat the comments would have gone on for miles:):) ali

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    4. Julia from Leominster28 December 2016 at 05:35

      Continued from above:
      Several things worry me deeply about William and Kate. Many people here believe that someday they will work hard - but I was in the working world myself for years and people who weren't hard workers didn't suddenly become so in their forties. So I'm cautious about thinking that William and Kate are magically going to change in the future.
      I've also disliked the uncertainty about this couple - so often plans for more royal work were announced and never happened or were changed - this makes me uneasy.
      And I strongly dislike some of the statements we have received about William and Kate which are more about themselves - what they Aren't going to do for their nation, rather than what they are and the suggestion that we should never rely on them in traditional duties. At the least, I think they are getting bad advice.
      I also have doubts about this Royal Foundation who work, unlike the Prince's Trust reminds me more of rich people's charitable foundations, than the traditional work of royals. Private fundraising should is not the main purpose of royalty.
      So that's why I'm not happy. It's nothing personal. Should William and Kate embrace a full time royal role this year, I would be the first and loudest to cheer. And I hope it happens.

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  18. Just look at Charlotte's hair!!She definitely is going to have her mother's thick pretty hair. It is so great to see pictures. I think is it wonderful that the Middleton's are being treated as importantly as William's family. I hope the Queen is feeling much better very soon. Does anyone know about the faux fur collar on Kate's coat? It is a nice touch. Charlotte, thank you for the wonderful job you do on this blog. It is greatly appreciated. I look forward to your many wonderful posts next year and I hope you have a Merry Christmas!!

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  19. The Sun has a nice video of William and family arriving at the church.

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  20. Thank YOU, Charlotte, and best wishes for the new year ahead.

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  21. As someone who lost an unborn child just before the holidays last year, my heartfelt sympathies go out to Mike and Zara Tindall. It is such an excruciating thing to have to endure and I wish her a speedy emotional recovery. My thoughts are also with the Queen as she battles her cold.

    On the more frivolous side of things - the children are absolutely adorable and Kate looks wonderful with straighter hair. Hopefully we will see her sport this look again soon.

    Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays, everyone!

    -C

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    1. I am very sorry for your loss. Prayers to you and to Zara as well for healing. Happy Christmas!

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    2. Julia from Leominster26 December 2016 at 15:19

      Very sorry to hear about your loss. There is no good time for such a thing to happen, but the holidays, with so much celebration everywhere, is particularly difficult. It is so sad for Zara and Mike too. I hope delightful little Mia brought them some consolation at Christmas.

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  22. Thank you for the post Charlotte! Lovely photos. So very sorry for Zara and Mike's miscarriage. Devastating. I pray that 2017 brings happiness and peace for everyone.

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  23. Merry Christmas Charlotte, and thank you for this lovely post. Beautiful family pictures, those precious children, and their lovely parents, grandparents and aunt.
    Condolences to Zara and Mike Tindall. What a sad time for them. Good health to all in 2017.

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  24. Merry Christmas to you and your family Charlotte. Thank you for a fabulous year of posts and information. Love this blog so much. Wishing all my fellow readers a very Merry Christmas and a fabulous 2017.

    I hope that Zara and Mike are doing ok. What terrible news, I was so sorry to hear about it yesterday. I hope the Queen is on the road to recovery. Even if it's just a cold, for a lady her age it's a worry.

    I am going to stick my neck out and post something I've been thinking for a couple of weeks now.I think Kate may be expecting again. The way her belt is sitting on her dresses and coat and that she's at Buckleberry again this year.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And the way Princess Charlotte's little leg is resting on Kate's abdomen.

      Delete
    2. I've quietly thought that for some time now

      Delete
  25. Above all, my thoughts and prayers are with Zara and Mike. There are no words that can adequately describe that depth of pain, and I know today must be even harder for them. I hope they can find some moments of comfort and peace in the midst of so much grief and heartbreak.

    I think that seeing the Cambridges going to and from church today is far better than any Christmas card picture could be, because you can see the interaction of the family and the precious personalities of both children in the pictures and video from today. When Kate wore the Hobbs coat in December of 2012, she was pregnant with George. I do wonder and have wondered (based on several signs) if she is expecting again, but somehow it seems and feels insensitive to even mention that (because of what Zara and Mike are going through). I'm glad that the Cambridges are spending this Christmas with the Middletons. I'm sure George and Charlotte are thoroughly enjoying themselves. I think that Kate and William can also relax more when they are with the Middletons, and it is that stable supportive family life that William finds much comfort in and strives to provide for his own children.

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  26. When I heard this morning that the Queen couldn't make it to church, I thought how lacking it must feel at Sandringham. And it did. I'm also sad to see Zara and Mike missing it even if I fully understand that they probably want to grieve in their own home, in private. Little Mia hasn't spent Christmas at Sandringham yet ever, so it will have to wait another year. It is probably best that Her Majesty took her rest and avoided too many activities anyway, especially around little children.

    So it was a pleasant surprise to see George and Charlotte accompany their parents to church today. It's a perfect introduction for them, IMO, more private, kid-friendly and less formality. They seem impeccably behaved and utterly adorable. They are a credit to their parents and grandparents.

    Happy Christmas to all.

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  27. Thank you, Charlotte, for the history of the lovely little church. It's striking that when the time came to introduce the children to a Christmas service, they could attend there, but not the Queen's church. I am so sorry she herself had to miss church on Christmas. I am looking forward to eventually listening to her Christmas message. Since Zara looked in good health at the Queen's luncheon, she must have miscarried within the last few days. How sad for her family. Thank you, Charlotte, for posting the latest news. I hope you had a lovely Christmas day!

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  28. Thank you , Charlotte, for the festive post. I was very sorry to hear about the Tindals yesterday and about HM missing the service today. However, I like her Christmas message so much! I think that by quoting Mother Teresa ("we can do small things with great love") she revealed a lot from her personal opinion. (And she herself is a person who can do big things as well!) She is truly inspirational. I do hope she will get well soon.
    Happy Christmas from the Czech Republic!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So true Zora. No act of kindness is ever wasted.

      Delete
  29. I would say it is the Helen Moore burgundy long collar, ASOS wouldn't look as good.

    HM

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  30. Merry Christmas and thanks for updating today! Lovely photos, I love Kate's straight hair and fur collar.

    I think it's time for poor George to graduate from short pants and knee socks!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am not remembering when I switched my boys out to long pants for special occasions, but I think by age 5. I love the look. I hope someone else chimes in. ali

      Delete
    2. Living in the South, I didn't put my son in long pants until around four or five. That was very standard/traditional there even in the 90's.

      Delete
    3. I'll support you in that ali. My two boys wore shirts for holidays etc until they started kindergarten. So around the age of five for me too. I love the look
      too. I'm all for children looking like children for as long as possible.

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    4. I hope they wore shirts! Meant shorts obviously.

      Delete
  31. I love sophie's dress and that extravagant hat! the York girls looked very nice too, though I am not a fan of Beatrice's shooties at all!

    the fur collar added definite style to kate's coat.

    was pippa wearing kate's coat from a Scotland visit a few years back?

    I like that the cambridges organized the photo shoot for their church visit. it recognizes and responds to the demand for pics.

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  32. What a lovely Christmas post, Charlotte. Such a beautiful surprise to see George and Charlotte on Christmas Day. It truly made my day more special. I hope the Queen is on the mend, and that Zara and Mike are healing.

    On a side note, some comments here are so, so mean. I truly cringe in how sad and judgmental some people are here. From the Queen's Christmas message, you can tell she's very supportive of her family, and I'm sure she's thrilled that William has found a very loving second family in the Middletons. She is not a jealous Queen, and she understands the importance of balance. I think William and Kate did a wonderful thing sharing part of their Christmas Day with the public. It shows us that even if the Queen was absent, and there have been some setbacks, the future is bright and visible.

    ReplyDelete
  33. A photo essay of George's expressions would make a sweet coffee table publication. His facial expressions are so expressive.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Haha yes Anon 22:12, someone needs to do a compilation of his royal cuteness!

      Delete
  34. Merry christmasss to all the readers oh i love the middletons especially the duchess coat yes my deepest condolonces to zara and mike ithink she had her misacarried whitin the last frew days after the queen luncheon

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  35. The Queen's Christmas speech usually moves me to tears (of Joy), and this year is no exception. I contemplate her words. She has been on this planet for 90 years and in situations so many and so varied and so unusual that I think I would be wise to take to heart her imparted wisdom and encouragement. I think her Christmas speech is the only speech she is allowed to write and present without approval from a parliamentary representative. I wish there was some way that I could give her a huge, but gentle, heartfelt hug and say to her, face to face, "I am so thankful for you Your Majesty. Thank you for keeping the faith, staying true to yourself, and for your beautiful years of service. Thank you".

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You can. Not the hug, of course, but you can send your wishes just as you have expressed them here to HM at Buckingham Palace. Eventually you will get a reply on palace stationery written by a lady-in-waiting. I'd encourage you to do that Anon 01:00.

      Delete
    2. Yes, Anon 1:00! Just write it down and send it by normal post. I did it back in April, for HM's 90th birthday. In July, I received a lovely thank-you card from Buckingham Palace. Can't tell you how thrilled I was!!! Now the card has "the place of honour" in our flat.

      Delete
    3. Thanks, Philly. :)

      It would be fun if those of us here who like and appreciate the Queen did a group letter as DKB
      and sent that to Buckingham Palace.

      Delete
    4. Zora, how cool was that? :) Thanks for the encouragement.

      Delete
    5. You are welcome. The funniest part of it was walking to the counter at the post office and handing the clerk there the envelope with "HM the Queen" etc. as the addressee. :) He was a smart man, though, he took it from me, just blinked several times and then wished me a nice afternoon!
      On the thank-you card, there is a beautiful picture of HM with something like a letter in her hand - so you may imagine she might have read your message, holding it in a similar way :). Of course it's highly unlikely (considering the tons of letters and cards she gets) - but I don't mind! I'm just happy to have tried. That was one dream-come-true. The other was going to London and seeing HM in her carriage (the bright-green dress was excellent! everybody could see her!) as she went to Trooping the Colour and then on the balcony of Buckingham Palace. 2016 was a fantastic year for me as a royal fan and I'm really grateful for it!

      Delete
  36. I have always liked Kate's coat and her new shoes. But I don't care for the fake fur, which doesn't match. She is a very attentive parent and obviously has a lot of fun with Charlotte.

    It appears that Carole may have broken her left arm. If so, that was perhaps another reason to gather at Bucklebury, making it all easier for her. We just don't know all the facts, but it was great to see the children at church with their family. That will not happen for several years at Sandringham.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I thought the same thing 01:16,

      but upon studying the photos they show her using each arm at different times. Some photos are very strange though with that cape. One shows her standing by the front door of the church with her back to the camera and there is a big bulge on the right side on the back of the cape. It isn't her elbow either. Don't know exactly what that was. She kept one or both arms under her cape recently also when she went to the theater with Pippa and James, Pippa's fiance. We will have to start calling him James2 to simplify references. If her arms get cold she could either wear long gloves or wear a coat instead of a cape, even though the cape looks cute on her, and I am not usually a fan of capes.

      Delete
    2. That photo of Carole is the 30th photo in an article by Amie Gordon in the 12/25, Daily Mail. Can anyone tell me what that is under her cape?

      Delete
    3. 01:16,
      On this page, 12th photo, Carole has her right arm out of the cape. In The Telegraph, 12/25/16, in article by Lydia Willgress, Carole has her left arm out of the cape (6th photo). No broken arm.

      Delete
    4. Julia from Leominster26 December 2016 at 16:55

      The videos show no broken arm - it appeared she was carrying something under her cape. Kate fiddles with her hair multiple times in the video especially when speaking to the vicar.

      Delete
    5. Yes, eventually I noticed both of Carole's arms were visible. 1:16

      Delete
    6. Perhaps Carole had the royal diaper bag under her cape-the baby necessities and distractions for the children. When we were small we always had books and things to look at during church to keep us quiet. That could be where Kate's clutch was after church.

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    7. I thought one of her large bags, but why look this awkward to carry a bag under a cape? May be the nanny may not be there, and could be a changing bag etc for the kids.

      Delete
    8. Kate fiddled with her hair, especially when talking to the vicar? So what. Seems like real nitpicking to me. Give the girl some mercy.

      Delete
    9. That is a very good guess you guys about the diapers bag and toys. Now I remember about all that stuff. lol

      Delete
  37. Merry Christmas to all! I wonder if the Queen does not feel Prince George and Princess Charlotte are old enough to attend the service at Sandrigham and thus that is why the Cambridge family had the first service with Kate's family? What a beautiful coat- I love the addition of the collar- she has so many classic coats that will serve her well for years to come! Hope the Queen feels better soon and every one has a very merry Christmas and can enjoy time with their loved ones!

    ReplyDelete
  38. I did not expect to listen to the Queen’s message today. The video happened to continue from W&K 2016 which I thought will be a quick watch. To my surprise, the Queen’s message made my day next to making it to church service today. It is a must listen, “Doing small things with great love” / almost all her speech was inspiring, wise and comforting. For W&K fans, there is also PW at his current job in the video. I hope the Queen and Prince Philip get better soon. Best wishes for Zara and family in the future. In time, I hope they get over it and enjoy what they already have.

    Merry Christmas to all of you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Posted December 25 afternoon. Time difference put it as Dec 26.

      Delete
  39. Sophie's dress has some pattern on the bodice that looks a little strange. If that was a dress and not a coatdress she must have been cold. Was Peter's other daughter there?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, there's a picture of her walking to church holding hands with Peter and Anne.

      Delete
  40. A very happy Christmas to you Charlotte and your fiancé and family. Thanks for all you do for us all. The royal family looks so happy and Kate looks nice. It's nice that they share it with her side as well. Too bad Charles didn't do this with Princess Diana it would have helped tremendously glad times has changed.

    Also my heart is with Zara and her husband Tindall tonight and the loss of her baby she must be devastated and him as well. I pray for them.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Charlotte is married to the nice gentleman who decorates her blog!

      Delete
  41. Oh and one more thing I pray Her Majesty has a speedy recovery! We cannot lose her she is the best Queen we ever had!

    I loved her Christmas speech

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  42. Lovely post! Kate seems so much more relaxed with her family. Hair down and carrying Charlotte, she even seems to walk differently when she doesn't look under pressure with the royals. George is so super cute!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Except she appeared relaxed and was smiling in the photo of THE Five-Other
      royals.
      I do imagine one gets accustomed to the Queen's way of doing Christmas. That doesn't mean that the spouses of royals don't enjoy a Christmas with their
      original family from time to time.I believe I saw Sophie's Dad talking to Charles at the church. The intimate family arrangement would definitely be more child-friendly than the royal one, especially considering the younger ones may be
      separated from the parents for the more adult events. I imagine Lady Louise and
      Viscount Severn would take part in the Christmas Eve festivities, as they recently
      have begun taking the church walk.

      Delete
  43. The family looks great. The kids are adorable and Kate looks terrific. The coat and the collar really compliment her. Merry Belated Christmas to all!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well done by the Cambridges. William gave Kate and his children a great Christmas gift. God bless them.

      Delete
    2. Amen, 23:55. A very sweet gift.

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  44. A very interesting article:http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4065736/Two-royal-Christmases-changing-guard-William-s-decision-not-spend-day-Queen-Sandringham-important.html

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  45. Regarding the Queen's illness, my sister mentioned to me yesterday amid the day's celebrations that she had heard the Queen is not really ill but was kept home due to some credible threat to her safety. My sister was busy cooking so she didn't elaborate much and I didn't ask her specifically where she had heard this rumor. I was wondering if anyone else, especially those of you in Britain, had heard anything of this sort as well.

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    Replies
    1. I think they would have kept all the Royal family in if that was the scenario. I don't think it was

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    2. Oh no I hope that is only a rumor Pam. This world is so crazy so something like this shouldn't surprise me.

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    3. I had thought security issues at first. It had been announced that HM would be participating in the festivities, but stay in doors. It sounded a little off me. Not behavior for a 90 year old whose illness was serious enough to delay travel-yet not interfere with activity indoors. She should be resting, if that ill.

      Delete
    4. anon 01:00- I agree with Philly. You should share those words with her-lovely thoughts and nicely expressed.

      Delete
    5. That sounds like fake news to me, not from your sister of course, Pam, but from some background source. I can't imagine that the Queen would allow her husband, her four children with their three spouses, six of her eight grandchildren with one spouse, and two of her five great grandchildren to make that walk if she thought they were in the least danger!

      Delete
    6. Julia from Leominster28 December 2016 at 05:44

      With due respect, I think this is most unlikely. The queen has done many engagements over the years that put her at personal risk. She is also very elderly. That she would send the immediate heir but not attend herself seems most unlikely. And even if William had attended, there is always someone in the line of succession. The monarchy has never embraced the intense security of US presidency. (Where they have been assassinations.)

      Colds are very hard for the elderly. My own father, previously in good health died of a cold that turned to pneumonia in his nineties as did my mum. I'm not surprised the queen was advised not to do too much. I hope that's all it is. Sophie seemed very caring about the Duke, accompanying him without interfering with his independent nature.

      Delete
  46. I would like to greet and thank Charlotte for her stellar work this year. It was a wonderful one, I think. I didn't expect to see the children as much as we did. It thrills me to see their family looking so loving and happy. As a mother of three girls under ten, I think it's the most important thing in life.

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    Replies
    1. Agree complerely Tamara. The well being of their family is the most important thing. They stood in Westminster Abbey and made a pledge before God to love and honor each other. Those vows are sacred.

      I congratulate them for keeping that pledge.During their engagement interview William said "its about carving your own path". That's what they are doing. God bless them.

      Delete
    2. Amen, Tamara.

      They are following through on the wedding pledge beautifully. You would think they had each gone to strip clubs or left the children to take care of themselves. Dear Lord, they are being verbally lambasted for going to church. And to say there is a Wales war is tacky gossip-mongering in anyone's book. Totally unsubstantiated and slurious.

      Delete
    3. Amen to Tamara and 20:14. If W&K are aware of all the fuss over their church appearance with the Middleton's, I wouldn't blame them for putting their sneakers on and running on said path. ;)

      Delete
  47. Charlotte thank you for your lovely blog, updating even on Christmas Day! And for always allowing a broader discussion on the bigger institution Kate is a part of, the monarchy, without which there would be no William and Kate.

    All I've read so far is excellent discussion on the moves William is making with his family, his decisions, nothing spiteful in the least, though some may be more spirited!

    I commented some months ago that many of us have been around a long time and watching this royal family a long time, and may make comments that some interpret as harsh, but they come from a place of observing what works and what doesn't with the Windsors.

    Most people didn't like that or understand my point! Thankfully bluhare put it quite beautifully above, many of us understand this is a cog in a much bigger wheel. And as Julia is trying to explain, the one thing that has tripped members of this family up time and time again is when they try to be "just your average royal" - ridiculous and a recipe for failure. And William is on a fast trek down that path by so pointedly choosing when he wants to be Mr. Air Ambulance Pilot and when he wants to be His Royal Highness.

    When William is King (which I'm less and less sure of) he has every right to decide his own customs and traditions and he will learn quickly what works and what doesn't. While the Queen is on the throne, and then Charles III, it is the opinion of many that he needs to toe the company line. The same company that affords him the luxuries he's usually quite insistent on.

    This Bucklebury Christmas did seem strange to me, I have to admit. That may seem ridiculous to some of you, but I have to agree with others that it's part of a bigger problem. And the Queen is known for avoiding conflict and confrontation with her family, just because they do something doesn't mean she likes it or approves of it.

    An analogy for older American readers - how well did a casual Jimmy Carter play to the public? Not well at all. People don't want their leaders to be the boy next door.

    I'm reading the awesome and superb biography of George HW Bush, and author Jon Meacham includes this quote in his foreword, which William would be wise to heed:

    "Destiny is not a matter of chance, it is a matter of choice. It is not a thing to be waited for; it is a thing to be achieved."

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Claudia.

      I agree that things will change as people come and go. However, it's not really great to go ahead and make all these changes in your department before the boss actually retires, right? Those things should happen when the new department head takes over, and William is not even next up for the job. Until then -- unless he wants to get metaphorically fired -- he should stand up and support his boss. Putting out a competing product on the same day the boss gives the yearly update is not the way to do it. Unless, of course, you're planning a hostile takeover.

      Delete
    2. I think choice can affect destiny for better or worse. Destiny it self is a combination of choice and many other factors including timing, health and some luck ( as in coincidence).

      Delete
    3. Claudia, I have watched the BRF since Diana's engagement to Charles and, IMO, many (if not MOST) of the decisions that W&K have made make perfect sense to me. And regarding cogs and this wheel we hear about...well, it takes more than one wheel to pull a wagon so me thinks there is an even bigger picture to be appreciated here.

      Delete
    4. Then Wiiliam is achieving a very impressive destiny and it is a very good thing. His choices have all been excellent ones to me.

      Delete
    5. Bluhare

      You just hit the nail on the head with this comment.

      Delete
    6. Claudia, I'm an older American. I respectfully disagree. Jimmy Carter's so-called "casual-ness" delivered some of the more powerful positives of his tenure and had little to do with the limitations of his Presidency and failure to win a second term. Moreover, our Presidents are just ordinary people. By design; not kings, royalty, anointed or born to position. We don't care that they eat a hot dog, go golfing, or carry their own garment bag. And they are only President for 4 or 8 years; not a lifetime. So I'm not sure that your analogy pertains.

      Anyway, several people have said this before me, but work assignments are orchestrated. While the senior Royals may have more individual appearances in the year, the overseas tours are increasingly undertaken by the junior members.
      We note that Anne does the most events. Does that signify that Charles is derelict in his duty? I don't think the number of appearances or assignments is a fair metric. We are in a transition period and are not privy to the long term strategic plan of the BRF. But no matter how well or poorly conceived or executed, we can be assured that there is a plan.

      Delete
  48. What a beautiful family the Cambridges are. They all seemed very relaxed and happy on Christmas Day. So very good to see them going to worship as a family.

    Congratulations to East Anglia Air Ambulance service for the mention in the Queen's address. Can't buy that kind of publicity. Thank-you to all of the dedicated staff.






    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Amen, 23:50. :)

      Delete
    2. I agree! I suspect this is one of the reasons for going to Bucklebury this year: giving their children the opportunity to come to church with them and experiencing the spirit and the miracle of Christmas.

      Delete
  49. Charlotte thank you for Duchess Kate which is bookmarked and checked every morning.

    Happy New Year!!

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  50. If you ask me, William is up to something. He's cross at someone, likely Charles, and asserting his power base. A classic Diana move really. And Kate and Carole heolped him achieve a carefully choreographed (even colour coordinated) family Christmas outing that they had to know would get full press coverage. BOTH children making their Christmas debut? Please. William knows by now what attracts the press.

    And to think he risked upstaging the Queen, (had she been well) knocking her off the front pages, not to mention the competing Boxing Day shoot. It's absolutely classic Diana! Any reader who was around in the 90's especially has to see the overwhelming similarities with this move, its straight out of her playbook.

    He's so stubborn and arrogant he's not thinking a few steps ahead, Diana did immeasurable harm with these antics. This is very foolish on his part, having the press in your pocket is one thing, but playing games with the monarch or soon to be monarch will always backfire. Celebrity cannot match that power base.

    Anyway, there's much more to this than meets the eye, no doubt about it! Hopefully I'll still be around sometime in the future when the books come out so I can read all about it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No there isn't:)

      Delete
    2. 04:03,

      How anyone can see malice in any of these Christmas outings is beyond me. I didn't hear anything in the Queen's speech that would substantiate any of that. Quite the contrary. And her invitations the Middletons to Balmoral, Sandringham church, Ascot etc. would not indicate malice either. We must be dealing with parallel universes as far as these things are concerned. In my world the things you say are just NOT happening.

      Delete
    3. Now Charles is a vctim? Don't know whether to laugh or applaud. His son made a decision to spend Christmas in Bucklebury not exactly earth shattering. He has no room to stand
      on high moral ground. Does he?

      The Monarchy has to change to stay relevant. Putting an emphasis on his marriage and family is not a bad way to start.

      Delete
    4. The Royal family has far bigger problems than William and Kate. Harry's relationship is far more dangerous to the monarchy. Stay tuned.

      Delete
    5. It's almost like the War of the Wales II, isn't it.

      Delete
    6. I was around in the 90s and although it has been said that Diana's "antics" did immeasurable harm, in hindsight, I'd have to say that they did not. I have no idea if William is playing some sort of game. I'm inclined to think he was just spending Christmas with the in laws and decided to give the press a photo op. However, if he is up to something, in the long run, it will blow over, just as the "antics" of Diana did.

      Delete
    7. And bluhare did you notice the old "William and Kate are going to work more this year" story got trotted out this week. And of course in The Telegraph, the one newspaper Her Majesty is guaranteed to read every day!!
      Honestly it's so predictable it would be comical if the monarchy wasn't hanging in the balance

      Delete
    8. And here I thought that attending church with the in-laws could only translate into a conspiracy theory in the DM. :) Please bear with me as I struggle to grasp the reasoning...

      Is this the same William who, according to some folks, would rather be a helicopter pilot for the rest of his life and not deal with public life? And now he is starting a competition of some kind?

      I will say it again, Charles married the third person in his marriage and BP is standing (with the lights) on as I write. And THIS young couple will be the downfall of the monarchy? Seriously.....two people who appear to enjoy wedded bliss, are raising two young children with their future public roles in mind, AND represent the compassion and humanity that the monarchy lacked until Diana came on the scene? Sorry, but me thinks that's a hard sell...even in the fiction department.

      Delete
    9. what war? that is only sheer speculation.

      Delete
    10. Excellent points, 19:38,

      Couple all that with the Queen's speech and it is substantially obvious that there are no rifts in the Royal family, even as much as some would want there to be. And I don't think that Harry's relationship will be problematic at all. Meghan is a smart girl with a seemingly good heart who will adapt as necessary to build a life with Harry, should the two of them decide to go that route. Just like Sophie/Edward, Autumn/Peter and Kate/William. And since the Queen mentioned William in her speech she perhaps thought it unnecessary to add another photo. Was she going to put photos of the entire family?

      Delete
  51. Oh my I just started from the top again and in the very first photo William and George have almost identical expressions! It is a riot, it may just be a fluke of a camera click or both may have been thinking "Oh my, someone is snapping me:):)!!" ali

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  52. Charlotte, I forgot to mention (in all the excitement of Christmas!), the snow globe gif at the end of this post is one of the cutest things I've seen :) All the little touches that you add to the blog are what makes it special & a great place to visit.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Charming little snow globe scene:-) My little one was mesmerized.

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    2. Yes, it is lovely!

      Delete
  53. Hi Charlotte, first of all I want to tell you that I love your blog! I'm from Poland and I don't know all english traditions, so I have got a question: It's cold outside and George is wearing shorts and socks. Can you tell my why? Is it a tradition or protocol? :)

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    Replies
    1. Katarzyna, many of us Americans ask the same question. I just saw a photo of Prince Albert of Monaco's little boy about the same age, dressed in adorable "regular" pants and jacket. I think it's a British tradition only for the "upper class" to dress the little boys in shorts. Guess it never gets cold enough in England to worry about cold little legs, even though George's sister got to wear tights.

      Delete
    2. Julia from Leominster28 December 2016 at 05:53

      It's tradition that boys don't wear long trousers until they are a bit older - at least would be in Sandringham. In an average parish like Bucklebury possibly not - it might well be seen as a little old fashioned. In general, I like the old-fashioned look but would think that in Bucklebury, George should be dressed as the other children are - if they wear long trousers, he should too, as he is there in a private capacity. It should be noted that Kate did not wear a hat as she certainly would have at Sandringham.

      Delete
  54. I do not believe that any concern for the monarchy warrants unkindness. Points can be skillfully made without unkindness.

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  55. The conversation on Royal Christmas we can read on this blog sounds strangely odd to me, as I am not British and I have different mental filters. When a message comes to us, we generally don’t get all the meanings this message conveys, but our brain “choses” some meanings dropping other meaning not adjusted with our mind. It is really difficult for me to understand why those sides of the message are erased for so many British observers: “Family is important, and a family is a family as well as if Royal or Commoner”; “I love my wife and her parents and sometimes it is worth to share with them our Christmas time” “I will respect and love my wife and will care for what she cares”, “I want my children learn to appreciate and love both sides of their family”; “the true values in life are love and respect for all people on Earth, Royals aren’t the only ones to deserve respect”. All those sides of the message are so clear and so important and full of good implications that I cannot understand why the Monarchy could be put in danger by the choice to spend one on three Christmases with William’s in laws. British Monarchy does really become such a frail and breakable thing that a Christmas with the Middletons can be a danger for it?

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