Saturday, 25 December 2021

UPDATED: The Royals on Christmas Day, A Special Performance & Watch Kate's Carol Concert

UPDATE: A better quality YouTube video of Kate's carol concert.

Good afternoon and Merry Christmas to you all! I'm popping in briefly to share a couple of updates on the Cambridges' Christmas. As you may know, William, Kate and the children are spending the festivities with the Middleton family at Anmer Hall in Norfolk. This morning the group attended service at St Mary Magdalene with little Louis present for the first time. Click here to see photos at Hello!

Hello! reports:

'William wore a shirt, jacket and tie while Kate, seated in the passenger seat, sported a checked jacket, a roll neck jumper and a feathered hat.

Prince George, eight, Princess Charlotte, six, and three-year-old Prince Louis could be seen in the back of the car following the service.'

This morning, William and Kate shared this tweet reflecting on the year.

The Duchess wore a checked coat and a Philip Treacy hat (with thanks to Lady Parky). I don't believe we've seen Kate wear it previously.


Kate accessorised with her Catherine Zoraida Fern earrings.

Meanwhile, a large gathering of royals joined Her Majesty at Windsor. The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall joined the Earl and Countess of Wessex with Louis and James and the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester for the Christmas Day service at St George’s Chapel.

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The Wessexes arriving.

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And the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester.

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Then at 3 pm, we gathered to watch Her Majesty's Christmas speech. The past two years have seen so much loss, something the Queen is no doubt feeling very deeply this Christmas -- her first without Philip by her side. "In the months since the death of my beloved Philip, I have drawn great comfort from the warmth and affection of the many tributes to his life and work – from around the country, the Commonwealth and the world. His sense of service, intellectual curiosity and capacity to squeeze fun out of any situation – were all irrepressible. That mischievous, enquiring twinkle was as bright at the end as when I first set eyes on him. But life, of course, consists of final partings as well as first meetings; and as much as I and my family miss him, I know he would want us to enjoy Christmas."

The Queen's speech in full:

'Although it’s a time of great happiness and good cheer for many, Christmas can be hard for those who have lost loved ones. This year, especially, I understand why.

But for me, in the months since the death of my beloved Philip, I have drawn great comfort from the warmth and affection of the many tributes to his life and work – from around the country, the Commonwealth and the world. His sense of service, intellectual curiosity and capacity to squeeze fun out of any situation – were all irrepressible. That mischievous, enquiring twinkle was as bright at the end as when I first set eyes on him.

But life, of course, consists of final partings as well as first meetings; and as much as I and my family miss him, I know he would want us to enjoy Christmas.

We felt his presence as we, like millions around the world, readied ourselves for Christmas. While Covid again means we can’t celebrate quite as we may have wished, we can still enjoy the many happy traditions. Be it the singing of carols (as long as the tune is well known); decorating the tree; giving and receiving presents; or watching a favourite film where we already know the ending, it’s no surprise that families so often treasure their Christmas routines. We see our own children and their families embrace the roles, traditions and values that mean so much to us, as these are passed from one generation to the next, sometimes being updated for changing times. I see it in my own family and it is a source of great happiness.

Prince Philip was always mindful of this sense of passing the baton.  That’s why he created The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, which offers young people throughout the Commonwealth and beyond the chance of exploration and adventure. It remains an astonishing success, grounded in his faith in the future.

He was also an early champion of taking seriously our stewardship of the environment; and I am proud beyond words that his pioneering work has been taken on and magnified by our eldest son Charles and his eldest son William - admirably supported by Camilla and Catherine - most recently at the COP climate change summit in Glasgow.

Next summer, we look forward to the Commonwealth Games. The baton is currently travelling the length and breadth of the Commonwealth, heading towards Birmingham, a beacon of hope on its journey. It will be a chance to celebrate the achievements of athletes and the coming-together of like-minded nations.

And February, just six weeks from now, will see the start of my Platinum Jubilee year, which I hope will be an opportunity for people everywhere to enjoy a sense of togetherness; a chance to give thanks for the enormous changes of the last seventy years - social, scientific and cultural - and also to look ahead with confidence.

I am sure someone somewhere today will remark that Christmas is a time for children. It’s an engaging truth, but only half the story. Perhaps it’s truer to say that Christmas can speak to the child within us all. Adults, when weighed down with worries, sometimes fail to see the joy in simple things, where children do not.

And for me and my family, even with one familiar laugh missing this year, there will be joy in Christmas, as we have the chance to reminisce, and see anew the wonder of the festive season through the eyes of our young children, of whom we were delighted to welcome four more this year.

They teach us all a lesson - just as the Christmas story does - that in the birth of a child, there is a new dawn with endless potential.

It is this simplicity of the Christmas story that makes it so universally appealing: simple happenings that formed the starting point of the life of Jesus — a man whose teachings have been handed down from generation to generation, and have been the bedrock of my faith. His birth marked a new beginning.  As the carol says, “The hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight”.

I wish you all a very happy Christmas.'

Her Majesty wore a 'Christmas Red' dress by Angela Kelly and the the sapphire chrysanthemum brooch she wore on her honeymoon in 1947.

Now, Kate's Christmas Carol Concert aired on ITV last night and I promised to share a YouTube video once one became available. There's one presently uploaded here (so be quick if you can).

The day before the concert Kate visited Westminster Abbey to decorate a tree...or so it was thought. It turns out the visit's true purpose was a very special performance by the Duchess.

More from Town & Country:

'A royal source said that having learned the instrument as a child, Kate played a lot during lockdowns and this “brought great comfort to her.” She approached singer Tom about the joint performance of his song For Those Who Can’t Be Here after meeting him at a charity event in October.

The duet was recorded in the Chapter House at Westminster Abbey the day before the carol service. Musician Tom, who won the British Breakthrough Act award at the Brits in 2019, described performing with the duchess as “a once in a lifetime experience.” He added, “I thought she absolutely smashed the performance; it's not easy to just jump behind a piano with a bunch of musicians you've never played with before and record live takes to camera, but she completely nailed it.” He described Kate as “a lovely, kind & warm hearted person,” saying she “took the time to thank everyone personally for the opportunity to play together.” “It was a crazy pinch yourself kind of day for me, to be in such a beautiful venue playing alongside the duchess with my band and a string quartet. I certainly won't forget that in a hurry! My mum had a total freak out when she saw it on the telly.”'

It was a beautiful performance and a lovely addition to the show.

With that, it's time for drinks and board games. I've been thinking quite a lot today about how fortunate I am to be able to spend the day with my husband and family. I know that's not the case for many of you reading this. You're in my thoughts and I hope, however you are all marking it, it's a great day. Thank you for stopping by during the year, dear readers.

47 comments:

  1. Merry Christmas, Charlotte. You do a beautiful job with your blogs.

    The Queen did very well, I thought.

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  2. Thank you for the post and Merry Christmas to you and yours. Being from the USA it was nice to be able to see the Royal Carols Program.

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  3. The Queen's speech was very touching and wise. I enjoyed it a lot. That was very brave, I think, for Kate to play and she did it so well. I feel she's rather a perfectionist with herself, so I would expect her to have done well. She looked wonderful at the piano, and her hair looked great! ( I usually grumble that it is too long and too ight but here it looked magnificent.) Camilla's outfit looked odd to me but it worked! Sophie looked so polished! Not a fan of Kate's hat even though it's so attractive just because it has feathers, but I'm a vegetarian, so... In the US, we had a very nice TV showing of the Kennedy Center honorees last week. Two honorees in particular -- Bette Midler and Lorne Michaels -- generated really enjoyable presentations, and that helped with the holiday mood!

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  4. Merry Christmas to you Charlotte and all fellow readers.

    What a lovely surprize and beautiful performance. In the beginning Charlotte often spoke about Kate the Great...well, she surely is great. She is a great duchess and lady, a great sportswoman, a great cook, a great artist, a great photographer, a great pianist...

    I love following her life, she is an inspiration.

    Dear Charlotte, I know you must be super busy but I so miss your earlier posts of Kate loves.. and lookback at Kate's best ensembles of the year...I so hope you will post some of those again in the new year.

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  5. Just when I think I could not love her more, she blows me away by playing the piano so beautifully! Go Kate! Thank you so much for sharing this with us Charlotte! Merry Christmas to you and all here!

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  6. As the Duchess played the piano, it became more than a song, it was a motherly hug to the nation....the world... without words. Her smile and Tom's at the end of the performance reflected the depths of the song and what it meant to them. This was amazing and heartfelt and I hope it is a song that will be sung every Christmas. The Duchess is a woman without limit to her talents; she is humble and poised and a great asset to the United Kingdom. From across the pond, I admire her as well. I thank you for a year of wonderful posts and wish you and your family and all the rest of the readers a happy and blessed holiday season and all the best in 2022.πŸŽ„πŸ₯‚❤

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    1. This song was truly a song for all, and also I feel a nod to William that perhaps had special meaning for the two of them. It was a beautiful choice and thoughtfully done. I agree, when I think that I can't admire her more Kate continues to surprise and inspire. Music definitely has a connectivity for many. Also the Queen's speech was a touching and personal tribute to Philip, I always look forward to listening. She is truly an amazing person. Thank you Charlotte for bringing all of this to your readers, we are very grateful.

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  7. Unfortunately the sound quality of the YouTube video of the carol service is very poor.

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  8. Charlotte, thanks for the Christmas update on the family, Queen and Carol service. I hope you had a great day today. I just watched the Duchess preform again with the amazing Tom Walker.. Like WOW.Can I be the first to call for this to be released as a charity single. #num1. I'm expecting it to be number 1 in the downloads. Beautiful song. Her Majesty's speech was perfect. There has been a lot of speculation about the Queens health and weight recently. Considering the horrific year she has had, on many fronts. I think she looks amazing for a lady 95 years young. It's definitely another WOW moment from Catherine. Her family and the Royal family must be so proud and grateful for all she does in her support for the crown. I'd like to wish everyone a happy new year. Please God a better one this year. ��. Who doesn't know someone stuck at home over Christmas, sick, old or alone. Reach out, even a phone call or quick visit from a distance can mean so much to people. S. ☺

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    1. Amen Anon 01:10 to everything you said!

      We buried my Son-in-law's Mother 3 days before Christmas & it was so hard.... Then I got sick & missed a 3 day Family Christmas Celebration with my family. I was feeling so awful (but luckily I tested negative for covid) that I didn't really focus on all that I was missing the first 2 days, as I was home alone. Plus they were larger formal events & while I was missed, my grandchildren were distracted with cousins etc. However, Christmas Day was really hard & I really felt lonely. It was just our family celebrating for dinner at my daughter's house & it was the first Christmas in Years.. when all of my children & grandchildren were all together! Then all of a sudden my oldest granddaughter(11yrs) FaceTimed me in (on her new phone) & it meant soooo much to me that she missed me & wanted to make sure I was a part of Christmas Day! I saw them open all of my ( & my husband's) gifts! It was so touching! It was shortly after that I discovered & watched Kate & her Performance! It brought me to tears... that I had yet to shed from the Funeral several days before. It was then that I realized, that if I had only been able to be in attendance for 1 of those days.... That was the day that my granddaughters & my daughter/son-in-law needed me the most! It did make me feel less alone, to realize that many were likely missing Christmas due to illness etc... Kate gave us all such a gift!

      Becca USA

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    2. Becca, I'm glad to hear you made the most of the Christmas that you had and grateful for one day. What a very kind and thoughtful Grandaugher you have. I'd like to wish you and your family the very best for the year ahead. S. ☺

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  9. What a surprising and unique Christmas this has been!!
    Also, congrats on your marriage!!
    Been super on and off on the blog but I remember the days you had a fianceΓ© and now husband! πŸ’—

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  10. WOWπŸŽ„πŸŽ„❤️❤️❤️ The duchess nailed it!!! An impressive performance by Tom Walker & what heart ♥️ rendering collaboration.. So proud πŸ₯²πŸ˜

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  11. Lovely update thank you the video was too gravelly to listen unfortunately. What a smash hit the Duchess and Tom were. My thoughts were for Carol and Michael Middleton who might have been thinking "Um money well worth spent on piano lessons!" I certainly was thankful for them.. made the festive season along with the Queen's wonderful speech. Happy New Year.

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  12. Merry Christmas Charlotte, and thank you for the lovely post.
    What a treat to see, and hear Kate play the piano so beautifully. William, and family must be so proud of her.
    The Queen’s moving speech was perfect. She is just an amazing woman.
    Here’s hoping the New Year brings an end to the pandemic, and that we may all flourish together.

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  13. Charlotte - thank you for another lovely update. You are amazing! I was so touched at the relevance of the song For Those Who Can’t Be Here and the Queen’s message. To me it was almost as though Kate was playing for the Queen and the loss of Prince Phillip. I have played the video multiple times and love the poignancy of the words and Kate’s beautiful accompaniment. Great Britain has a remarkable woman as future Queen Consort.

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    1. Amen Karen! I totally agree & you said it so well! xoxo

      Becca USA

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  14. A better link for the Queen's speech. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pQapy3zViB0

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  15. A lovely surprise of music ! Thank you Charlotte for all you do for this page.

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  16. What an incredibly brave thing for Duchess Kate to do - her gift to those for whom she planned this service, and subsequently to the rest of the exhausted, weary world who've watched it.

    I love her Christmas Day look - the hat and jacket feel very British country (at least to me as an Australian) and look great on her.

    And our beloved Queen - she gave us a thoughtful, wise and hopeful reflection.

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  17. how beautiful to see her playing piano! i never knew she played. she looks lovely. i hope everyone had a merry christmas. mine was full of sorrow as my mom passed away two days before christmas but this video makes me smile in my struggle

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    1. Dear Melissa, I'm so very sorry! My prayers are with you and I send you a sincere hug.

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    2. Melissa, I am SO sorry! Sending you the best warm wishes. Allison in US

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    3. Oh Melissa, I am so truly sorry for your loss. You are a bright light in the 'DKB Community' and we are all thinking of you.

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    4. Melissa, I'm so sorry for your loss. May she rest in peace. I hope you find comfort in your loss remembering the good times and love ye shared. It's three years since I lost my Mam. Time does help a little. Sending you love during this difficult time. S. ☺

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    5. Oh Melissa I'm so so very sorry for your loss!! How hard & at Christmas no less!! My heart just goes out to you so greatly!! Charlotte is right, you are such a bright light here in the DKB Community! I think we can only imagine that your Mom was a bright light too! xoxo

      All my love,
      Becca USA

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  18. Here's a link to a recording of the service that has better sound quality

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=ojiA19mHxn0

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    1. Apologies for the duplicate message...didn't think that the first one published :(.

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  21. Has anyone in the US been able to view and listen to the program without the poor audio mentioned in previous posts? If so, how were you able to do so. Thank you.

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    1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=re_GKMuTYRU

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  22. Please tell me where in the programme does Kate's performance appear? I saw it on youtube but dont see it in the programme video? Gosh Im missing it 🀦🏻‍♀️🀷‍♀️

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    1. I was thinking the same thing Lize!? I watched both separately & they were wonderful (I've watched Kate's performance multiple times) but I too was confused when I didn't see it in the YouTube video? I was expecting it to be in one of those cut away segments..? Charlotte could you please explain to us who are not in the UK, how it appeared to all of you? Was it a separate item that aired perhaps after the Queen's speech?

      Thanks,
      Becca USA

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  23. The Queen's speech was inspiring but Kate's performance was WOW, just WOW !!!!

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  24. hmm i love the queen Christmas speech it so unique

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    1. Ditto Bluefire! HM is such an incredible lady. It was so moving to hear her say "my beloved Philip"!

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  25. I think Kate wore that hat in short movie they made for the 10th wed anniversary

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  26. Wow just wow. Catherine was amazing 🀩 and yes as someone commented above it was a hug to the Commonwealth xx
    DD

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  27. Thank you for the link! Absolutely wonderful to watch this.

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  28. Yes, thank you for the new link. The sound quality was much better.

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  29. I see that William has floated the idea of using empty houses on the royal estates for the homeless. I think this sort of thinking is essential if the Monarchy is to survive into the next century.There is no room in the future for the sort of Royal privilege we have seen in the past so it is an encouraging sign.

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  30. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=re_GKMuTYRU--- This one is in HD if you have that capability. Much better sound. While it lasts.

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  31. Hi Charlotte, is there any chance you'd do a poll of favourite outfits from 2021? I love a good 'year in review' look back and finding out what your other readers liked the most!

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  32. Tammy from California5 January 2022 at 03:19

    Charlotte, I think it's time for a round of Best looks of the Year or Dress Kate for a New Year's Eve Party OR EVEN, a Valentine's Day date look. WHADDYA THINK?!

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