Duke and Duchess of Cambridge get into the Christmas spirit as they attend lunch at Buckingham Palace
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge kicked off the Christmas festivities with a lunch at Buckingham Palace today.
The Royal couple, among the close relatives invited to the event hosted by the Queen, were all smiles as they were spotted on their way.
Kate looked radiant in the passenger seat while her husband eschewed a driver and took to the wheel.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on their way to attending a pre-Christmas lunch at Buckingham Palace
A present for the Queen A striped monochrome package was spotted in the back
The Duchess looked radiant in red and her glossy tresses hinted at an intensive stint in the hairdressers’ chair as she was driven through the gates by her husband.
The prince did not appear to be wearing his seat belt as he drove in off The Mall, a public road, although Kate was firmly belted up.
Zara Phillips and Mike Tindall were also among the guests spotted in their cars on the way to the event.
She has always been one of the more down to earth members of the Royal Family.
But Zara’s casual choice of attire may have raised a few eyebrows.
Driving Prince Harry: Prince Charles, Camilla and Harry head to the event
Dressed for the occasion: Kate and Camilla had their hair done for the occasion
The world champion equestrienne dressed for the weather – if not for the occasion – in a grey and russet knitted‘beanie’ hat, a hooded sweatshirt and a padded casual black jacket.
England rugby star Mike was equally casual, wearing a khaki outdoors jacket over what appeared to be an unzipped fleece.
Other members of the Royal Family pushed the boat out in smart dresses, snappy suits and a dazzling array of jewellery, however.
Dressed-down: Mike Tindall and Zara Phillips go for a more casual approach
Prince Harry also made an appearance – dressed like his brother in a smart suit and tie – in a chauffeur-drivencar with his father, Prince Charles, and step-mother, the Duchess of Cornwall, who was sporting a hefty pair of pearl earrings and an ear-to-ear grin.
The Queen throws the 50-strong lunch every year for her entire extended family, many of which will spending Christmas with their own children and grand-children rather than join the annual gathering at Sandringham.
Taking a back seat: Princess Anne with husband Timothy Lawrence also attended the lunch
Still, as the Mail revealed yesterday there will be a record number of royals at the Norfolk estate this year – 29 in all.
Among those seen arriving in the rain atthe palace were dapper Lord Freddie Windsor, son of Prince and Princess Michael of Kent, and his actress wife, Sophie Winkleman, Viscountess Linley – wife of Princess Margaret’s son, David – Lady Davina Windsor, daughter of the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester and her Maori builder husband Gary Lewis, and Autumn Kelly, the newly pregnant daughter-in-law of Princess Anne.
Daniel and Sarah Chatto bring a gift from The Conran Shop
Also present were Lady Sarah Chatto, Princess Margaret’s daughter, her husband, Daniel and their two young sons.
‘It’s always a wonderful – and rare – chance for the whole family to catch up.
“Many will not have seen the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge since their wedding earlier this year and there will no doubt be much talk about the Queen’s forthcoming Diamond Jubilee,’ said a source.