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The Middletons join the royal family at Buckingham Palace

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Kate Middleton reluctantly missed the Coronation Festival gala at Buckingham Palace on Thursday evening, as it was just days away from her mid-July due date, but her sister Pippa Middleton, brother James and parents Carole and Michael all attended and sat in the royal box with the Queen, Prince Charles, Camilla and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall.Princess Eugenie, the Duke of York and the Earl and Countess of Wessex also watched the gala, which took place in the grounds of Buckingham Palace to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Queen's coronation.

Pippa Middleton© Photo: Getty Images

The Middleton family looked happy and relaxed, and were spotted laughing with fellow guests in the royal box. They also exchanged a friendly greeting with Zara Phillips, who was making her first public appearance since her pregnancy was announced. Olympic champion Zara, who wore a floral shift dress, was spotted with her hand resting tenderly on her stomach.The attendance of the Middletons suggested that Kate's due date is not as close as originally thought and Kate herself was reportedly keen to attend the event, before eventually deciding against it. Prince Charles, Camilla, Carole and Michael would undoubtedly have had plenty of exciting baby plans to discuss.

Zara Phillips

It was Zara Phillip's first appearance since it was announced that she is pregnant with her first child

Pippa, who looked stunning in a white summer dress and her hair worn in loose curls, attended without her boyfriend Nico Jackson. She sat with her father Michael to her right and her brother James to her left. James attended without his girlfriend, TV presenter Donna Air.

The Coronation Festival gala, which was hosted by Sophie Raworth and Gareth Malone, included performances from Katherine Jenkins, Russell Watson, Katie Melua and Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, who famously sung at the wedding of Prince Charles and Diana, Princess of Wales.

Prince Charles© Photo: Getty Images
Prince Charles and Camilla pictured with the Queen in the royal box

The Feeling also took to the stage and were joined by Beverley Knight and The Wire’s Dominic West, who narrated the spoken verses.The evening finished with a performance by Katherine Jenkins and Only Boys Aloud, who shot to fame in 2012 when they finished third in Britain's Got Talent.

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