Royal Family attend Sandringham church service - although hopes the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge would join them are dashed
19:57 30 December 2012
© Archant Norfolk 2012
Members of the Royal Family attended church at Sandringham today - without the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.
There had been hopes that Prince William and Catherine would attend today’s service after they spent Christmas Day with her family in Bucklebury, Berkshire.
But it is understood the couple paid a brief visit to the Queen’s Norfolk residence this week, during which they attended a shoot on the estate, but left before today’s church service.
The contingent of the Royal Family, made up of the Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh and the Earl and Countess of Wessex, attended the service at St Mary Magdalene Church as about 200 wellwishers looked on.
The Queen, wearing a pink dress coat, was driven the short distance from Sandringham house in a Bentley, escorted by the Countess of Wessex.
She had recovered from a cold to attend the Christmas Day service.
The Duke of Edinburgh, 91, who was forced to miss the service last year because of a heart problem, made his way to church on foot.
Earlier this month, it was announced that William and Kate are expecting their first child, after the duchess was admitted to hospital with an acute bout of morning sickness. Since then they have attended minimal public engagements.
Prince Harry is absent from the celebrations, as he is serving as an Apache helicopter pilot with the Army Air Corps in Afghanistan.
During the 40-minute service, hymns included O Little Town Of Bethlehem.
Afterwards, the smiling Queen collected flowers from waiting children before being driven back to Sandringham house for lunch.