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Duke and Duchess of Cambridge attend church at Sandringham this morning

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The most famous resident may have been absent, but there was still a royal presence at Sandringham's St Mary Magdalene Church for its Christmas Day service today.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge drove from nearby Anmer Hall for the service this morning, with Catherine waving to onlookers who had gathered near the church.

Photographs showed the Duke and Duchess accompanied by their children, George, eight, Charlotte, six, and Louis, three, as they left the Christmas Day morning service this morning

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge at Sandringham, Christmas Day 2021 (53951503)
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge at Sandringham, Christmas Day 2021 (53951503)

Thousands of people traditionally head to the estate to see the Queen and other members of the Royal Family on Christmas Day.

But it was confirmed on Monday that the 95-year-old monarch would be spending the festive period at Windsor Castle, rather than travelling to West Norfolk.

This Christmas is the Queen's first since the death of her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh, in April.

And memories of Prince Philip featured strongly in her annual Christmas broadcast this afternoon.

The Queen said: “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.”

Other members of the Royal Family, including the Prince of Wales, the Duchess of Cornwall, the Earl and Countess of Wessex and the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester, attended a service at St George's Chapel in Windsor this morning.

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