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Smiling Queen attends Christmas service without William and Kate

26 DECEMBER 2012 As 2012 draws to a close, the Queen has plenty to smile about. Capping off her Diamond Jubilee year with the wonderful news that Kate Middleton and Prince William are expecting a baby has made this year a special one. No wonder then, the monarch looked on top of the world as she attended service at Sandringham on Christmas Day.

The 86-year-old's sunny demeanor was hard to miss as she greeted well-wishers with a warm smile outside St Mary Magdalene Church. And her bright mood was reflected in her choice of outfit - a turquoise Peter Enrione dress and matching wool coat with a hat by Rachel Trevor-Morgan.

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It was hard to tell the sovereign was recovering from a nasty cold, which had caused her to miss church on Sunday for the first time in living memory.

Queen Elizabeth was joined by several senior members of the royal family, including her husband Prince Philip. The 91-year-old looked on fine form in contrast to his state of health last year, when he had to miss church as he was hospitalised with heart troubles.

Others present included the monarch's son Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall, who looked lovely in a vibrant purple outfit. Prince Andrew was also there with his daughters, Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie. Princess Anne and her children Zara and Peter Phillips attended with their other halves - Autumn and rugby player Mike Tindall.

In a break with tradition, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge did not attend. Instead the couple spent the day with Kate's parents Michael and Carole Middleton at their new mansion in Bucklebury, Berkshire.



 

William and Kate, who is still in the early stages of pregnancy and recovering from a bout of servere morning sickness, started the day by going to church with her family – including sister Pippa Middleton and brother James – at St Mark’s Church in Englefield.

Prince Harry was also absent, as he is on the front line in Afghanistan as an Apache helicopter pilot.

The decision for William and Kate to spend Christmas away from the Queen's Norfolk estate was made with the full approval of the monarch. It's thought that the couple will spend some time with the rest of the royal family at some point over the Christmas break, however.

After leaving St Mary Magdalene Church, which is just a short walk away from Sandringham House, the royal family enjoyed a lunch of Norfolk turkey. They then settled down to watch the Queen's speech. In line with tradition, presents were opened on Christmas Eve.

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