The Queen invites Kate to Christmas
She has already been granted a rare private audience with the Queen, and now Prince William’s girlfriend has been honoured with an invitation to Sandringham for the Royal Family’s Christmas lunch.
It is the first time an unmarried partner has been invited to the festivities at the Norfolk estate, and it clearly indicates how close Kate Middleton has become to the Royal Family.
However, the 24-year-old has not yet accepted the prestigious invitation, as she struggles to find a compromise if she misses her own family’s traditional Christmas get-together.
The news of the invitation comes amid speculation that the pair will shortly announce their engagement. The High Street store Woolworths has already manufactured memorabilia to celebrate the event, which includes mugs, plates, slippers and computer mouse mats.
Last night a source close to Kate told British newspaper The Mail on Sunday: “Kate has been invited to Sandringham for Christmas lunch, but she has yet to accept. It is incredibly prestigious, so she is unlikely to turn down such an important invitation.”
The immediate Royal Family always gather for the festive season at Sandringham, where they enjoy a traditional turkey dinner, followed by shooting on Boxing Day. Last year, Kate was only invited to join the Royal Family on Boxing Day.
“Kate naturally wants to be with William at Christmas,’ a friend revealed. “She is incredibly close to her parents and her brother and sister, but Kate knows that, if she and William stay together, there will have to be compromises. It is a case of each of them balancing Christmas between their two families – and at the moment she is leaning towards Sandringham. She knows that it is a great honour to be asked and that William would never not be present at the Christmas lunch. They are now discussing the idea of going to Berkshire after the shoot on Boxing Day to spend time with Kate’s family.”
But last night Royal aides speculated that Kate may actually decline the offer in order to deflect further speculation that the pair, who have been together for four years, are about to get engaged.
One Royal aide said: “If Kate does come it will send the rumour mill into overdrive. Although they had a good laugh about the engagement china, there is already a lot of pressure on William to pop the question, and it just made matters worse.”
A spokesman for Clarence House said last night: “Christmas plans are being discussed, but we do not discuss Royal guests.”
Prince William has been dubbed Bladerunner at Sandhurst College after being shortlisted for the coveted Sword of Honour, for best cadet officer. If he wins, William will carry the sword before the Queen at his passing-out parade.