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Prince William and Kate Middleton host Christmas party for military families - all the photos

The royals welcomed the partners and children of RAF Coningsby or RAF Marham

kate middleton christmas kp
Sharnaz Shahid
Deputy Online Editor
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kate middleton prince william christmas© Photo: PA

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have hosted a Christmas party at Kensington Palace for the families of military personnel serving in Cyprus over the festive period. Kate looked stunningly festive in a gorgeous red Emilia Wickstead skirt and black cashmere cardigan whilst Prince William opted for a casual look - blue jumper and navy trousers.

MORE: Prince William and Kate's Christmas plans with the Sussexes revealed

The royal couple wish to deliver a message of support to deployed personnel and to acknowledge and honour the fact that many Serving personnel are away from their families at this time of the year. At the festive gathering, both Prince William and Kate mingled with some of the partners and children of RAF Coningsby and RAF Marham.

The family event featured stalls where children were given the chance to decorate stockings or snow globes, as well as making crackers and create Christmas party kits. Quite fittingly there was also a photo booth and a post box so the families could take pictures and send messages to their loved ones in Cyprus. Approximately 7,500 military personnel are currently serving overseas or away from home on exercises. A large portion of these have children who will have a parent away over the festive period.

kate middleton prince william pda© Photo: PA

The royal couple, who are parents to Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis, seemed very happy ahead of making Christmas crackers, amongst other many festive activities.

father christmas kensington palace© Photo: PA

Father Christmas was also on hand to help Prince William and Kate spread the Christmas cheer amongst the families attending the very festive event.

kate middleton smiles fake snow© Photo: Getty Images

Kate, 36, looked festive in her Emilia Wickstead plaid skirt which she teamed with a black Brora cashmere cropped cardigan and suede leather boots. Meanwhile, William kept things cool in a blue jumper and navy trousers.

kate middletonsmiling christmas party© Photo: PA

The royals appeared to be in great spirits as they soaked up the festive atmosphere at Kensington Palace.

kate middleton tartan skirt© Photo: Getty Images

Kate looked delighted as she took a short walk from her Kensington Palace apartment to the Orangery, passing the snow machine in the process.

william kate fake snow© Photo: Getty Images

The royal couple shared a laugh, and at one point they seemed surprised whilst they walked past the snow machine which no doubt added to the festive atmosphere.

william and kate snow ball

Both William and Kate were seen getting into the festive spirit by throwing same fake snow balls.

william and kate snow ball fight

It was clear for the world to see how much fun the royals were having at the Christmas party.

kate shakes hand party© Photo: Getty Images

At the party, Kate paid a heartfelt tribute to the military families coping with being apart from loved ones over Christmas. The mum-of-three said she could not imagine the emotions they felt during the holiday period as she hosted a festive party with William for more than 200 wives, girlfriends, parents and grandparents holding the fort at home.

kate middleton party© Photo: Getty Images

The Duchess told her guests: "As someone whose husband served, I know how hard it feels when a loved one leaves home to do the job they trained for."

kate william festive party© Photo: Getty Images

She highlighted how she had some idea how they felt at this time of year as William, a former RAF search and rescue helicopter pilot, had served in the Falklands for six weeks in 2012. Kate added: "But I can't imagine how it feels when your loved ones are away on active service over Christmas..."

william kate xmas© Photo: Getty Images

The Duke and Duchess played games with the children and helped them make Christmas cards and treats. They will travel to RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus tomorrow on a special "Royal Mail" flight loaded with gifts and cards for personnel from their families.

william kate xmas party© Photo: Getty Images

The couple organised the two days of engagements with RAF families as a way of saying thank you to the military personnel currently serving overseas or away from home. William and Kate helped make the festive treats and cards and joined in one game, Santa's Footsteps, in which they had to pretend to be reindeer seeking sweets. Kate also briefly joined in a snowball fight with the children before thinking better of it and handing her cotton wool snowballs over to the children.

prince william kate walking london© Photo: Getty Images

On Wednesday, the royal couple are flying to RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus in order to meet with Serving personnel. William and Kate usually keep up with Christmas traditions by sending festive cards to fans who have sent them wishes.

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