Kate, Duchess of Cambridge, 37, and Prince William, 37, delighted royal fans earlier this week in a special Christmas cooking programme with TV chef Mary Berry. The Cambridges were out in force again today for the Queen’s annual Christmas lunch for family members at Buckingham Palace. While Kate was snapped driving Princess Charlotte, four, and Prince Louis, one, Wills arrived in a separate car with Prince George, six.
Why did Prince William and Kate arrive separately to Queen’s Christmas lunch?
Princess Charlotte and Prince George broke up from school for the Christmas holidays last week and were able to join their parents and younger brother Prince Louis for a special gathering at their grandmother’s today.
While Royal Family members get together for Christmas at Sandringham every year, Queen Elizabeth II also hosts a festive family lunch at Buckingham Palace ahead of the holiday.
While the Cambridge clan are a tight unit and Wills and Kate are both hand-on parents, some fans were puzzled to see them arriving at Buckingham Palace in separate cars.
READ MORE: Princess Charlotte looks cheeky as she arrives for Christmas party
Kate Middleton and Prince William: The couple arrived in separate cars
Kate Middleton and Prince William: Kate arrived with Charlotte and Louis
The real reason for this seems to have been purely practical.
As both Kate and Wills travel with royal protection officers they would not have fit in the same car with their three children too.
This meant Prince William drove George, six, to the event and Kate ferried their two youngest Princess Charlotte and Louis in her car.
While in previous years Wills and Kate have spent Christmas Day with the Duchesses’ parents they are expected to be with the Queen this year.
Kate Middleton and Prince William: Prince Louis looked very grown-up
Kate Middleton and Prince William: Wills and George arrived in a separate car
Meghan Markle and Prince Harry were conspicuously absent from the pre-Christmas get together as they enjoy time off from royal duty.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are said to be in the USA where they are spending downtime with their baby Archie Harrison and Meghan’s mother Doria Ragland.
While it is not known where the Sussexes will spend Christmas they have confirmed they will skip Sandringham and celebrate elsewhere with Doria.
Other royals to attend today’s lunch included Prince Andrew and his daughters Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie.
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Following a turbulent few weeks for Prince Andrew in which he withdrew from his royal role, his appearance at Buckingham Palace shows the family are united around him.
The Duke of York chose to step back from royal duty after an interview he gave about his links to paedophile Jeffrey Epstein prompted fierce backlash.
Princess Beatrice, 31, is in the process of planning her wedding to Italian property developer Edward Mapelli Mozzi which is due to take place next year.
While a royal wedding date is yet to be officially announced, it is understood it will take place in June 2020.
Kate Middleton and Prince William: Kate looked festive in a tartan dress
The Queen was reported to have been waiting for the general election to be out the way before confirming a date for the royal nuptials.
Royal insiders have said the announcement will be made in January.
The furore surrounding Prince Andrew has overshadowed Bea’s wedding plans in recent weeks and she was even forced to cancel her engagement bash, according to the Mail on Sunday.
However, it is understood Bea has rescheduled the party so Prince Andrew can attend under the radar.