When Prince William sits down to lunch on Christmas day with the rest of the royal family at Sandringham, the Norfolk estate where they customarily gather for the festive season, his girlfriend Kate Middleton will be on the other side of the world.
According to a source, the 25-year-old is planning the break in the sun in order to avoid a potentially "awkard situation" over an invitation to join her beau's relatives at their traditional get-together. Along with her parents, sister Pippa and brother James, she'll spend the festive period at a private hideaway in Barbados.
"Kate and William are now firmly back on track, but they both accepted they wouldn't be spending Christmas together this year," revealed the source. The brunette apparently felt the time "wasn't right" for her to be sharing the holiday period with the royal family.
It is understood Kate turned down an offer to join the celebrations at the Norfolk estate last year. At the time a Clarence House spokesman refused to confirm reports of the invite, saying: "Christmas plans are being discussed, but we do not discuss Royal guests."
The lovebirds can look forward to seeing in the New Year together, though, as she flies back into the UK on December 27.