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King Charles hosts Princess Anne, Duchess Sophie and Lady Louise Windsor for pre-Christmas lunch

The King and Queen are expected to travel to Sandringham later this week

Edward, Sophie and Lady Louise attend Christmas lunch at Windsor
Danielle Stacey
Online Royal CorrespondentLondon
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The royals enjoyed a special reunion ahead of Christmas at Sandringham as the King and Queen hosted a festive gathering at Windsor Castle on Wednesday. 

The Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh, along with their daughter, Lady Louise Windsor, 20, were among the guests pictured arriving in their cars for the family lunch.

Peter Phillips driving a car with Savannah and Isla Phillips© © Bruce Bennett
Peter brought his two daughters, Savannah and Isla

Prince Edward, 59, sported a black blazer and white shirt as he drove his family through the gates at Charles's Berkshire residence, while Sophie, 58, was wrapped up in a dark overcoat. 

Lady Louise, who has returned home from St Andrews university in Scotland, was pictured in the back seat of the car, wearing what appeared to be a collared blouse. 

The Princess Royal was also in attendance and was spotted arriving in Windsor with her husband, Vice Admiral Sir Tim Laurence. 

Princess Anne, 73, wore a dark green coat and a white scarf, with a pearl necklace, while Sir Tim donned a gilet over his shirt and tie. 

Charles has continued his late mother Queen Elizabeth II's tradition of hosting extended members of his family before leaving to travel to Norfolk later this week.

Edward and Sophie arrive at Windsor Castle© Bruce Bennett
Edward and Sophie were pictured arriving for the family lunch

The late Queen would traditionally host a gathering at Buckingham Palace days before taking the train from London to King's Lynn.

Last year, Charles and Camilla hosted the pre-Christmas lunch for the first time at Windsor Castle, but chose to arrive at Sandringham privately.

Lady Louise is in her second year at St Andrews© Bruce Bennett
Lady Louise is in her second year at St Andrews

The King's nephew-in-law, Mike Tindall, has previously shared some insight into the royal family's festive lunch, with the former rugby star revealing that the children get their own table to sit on in a different room.

Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi in a car with two others© © Bruce Bennett
Beatrice's husband Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi also attended

Speaking on JOE UK's House of Rugby podcast in 2019, he said: "I didn’t drink actually, this is the other one, the family lunch there must be about 70 of us there – there are seven tables and the kiddies have their own little one in a different room. I was on Prince Charles' table. It was lovely, really good."

Mike and Zara Tindall in a car© © Bruce Bennett
Zara and Mike arrived in style

Mike was also asked if the royals take part in Secret Santa, to which he replied: "Not on that day – no."

Princess Anne and her husband, Vice Admiral Sir Tim Laurence© Bruce Bennett
Princess Anne and her husband, Vice Admiral Sir Tim Laurence

Over the years, it's been widely reported that the royals buy each other novelty or homemade gifts for Christmas, rather than lavish presents, which they exchange on Christmas Eve.

Lady Sarah Chatto driving a car with an elderly man© © Bruce Bennett
The King's cousin Lady Sarah Chatto attended

In the Queen at Ninety documentary in 2016, the Princess of Wales spoke about how nervous she was about buying the late Queen a gift.

Princess Anne and Vice Admiral Sir Tim Laurence arriving at Windsor© Bruce Bennett
Princess Anne looked elegant in green
The Edinburghs are expected to join the King and Queen at Sandringham for Christmas© Bruce Bennett
The Edinburghs are expected to join the King and Queen at Sandringham for Christmas

"She (the Queen) really cares," she said. "I can remember being at Sandringham, for the first time, at Christmas. And I was worried what to give the Queen as her Christmas present. I was thinking, 'Gosh, what should I give her?'

"I thought back to what I would give my own grandparents. And I thought, 'I'll make her something.' Which could have gone horribly wrong. But I decided to make my granny's recipe of chutney."

Prince Andrew in the back of a car with covered windows© © Bruce Bennett
Prince Andrew made a lowkey appearance

She added: "I was slightly worried about it, but I noticed the next day that it was on the table. I think such a simple gesture went such a long way for me and I've noticed since she's done that on lots of occasions and I think it just shows her thoughtfulness, really, and her care in looking after everybody."

LISTEN:  A Right Royal Podcast Christmas Special

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