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Royal family to miss out on special gathering before Christmas

The monarch usually sees her extended family before Christmas

Danielle Stacey

The Queen's Christmas calendar looks very different to what we're used to seeing as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and it seems the royals are set to miss out on one of her most major events.

Buckingham Palace has already confirmed that the monarch and the Duke of Edinburgh will spend Christmas Day at Windsor Castle for the first time in over 30 years, having traditionally celebrated the holidays at Sandringham.

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WATCH: Royals arrive at Queen's Christmas lunch at Buckingham Palace in 2019

While the 94-year-old head of state usually invites her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren to her Norfolk estate for the festive period, she also hosts a bigger gathering at Buckingham Palace for extended members of her family in the lead-up to Christmas. 

However, HELLO! understands that the Queen's Christmas lunch at her London residence will not take place this year.

The royal family's official website revealed back in October: "In line with current government guidelines, and as a sensible precaution in the current circumstances, there will be no large scale events held at Buckingham Palace or Windsor Castle for the rest of this year."

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Meghan made her debut at the festive lunch in 2017

In previous years, the royals have been photographed arriving at the palace in their cars.

Meghan Markle attended the special gathering for their first time in 2017, when she and Prince Harry were newly engaged. The Suits star was pictured wearing a lace Self Portrait midi dress, which she complemented with stunning diamond earrings.

The Duchess of Cambridge attended the Queen's Christmas lunch for the first time in 2011, eight months after her marriage to Prince William, with Kate donning a burgundy coat for the occasion.

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William and George arriving at the Queen's Christmas lunch in 2019

William and Kate's three children have also been spotted arriving with their parents at their great-grandmother's festive bash. Last year, the Duke and his eldest son, Prince George, travelled to Buckingham Palace separately from Kate, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis.

William and George, who are second and third in line to the throne, arrived early to make Christmas puddings with the Queen and the Prince of Wales.

The young Prince provoked giggles from his family members as he enthusiastically stirred the pudding mixture. The four generations of the royal family supported the Royal British Legion's project, Together at Christmas initiative.

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