William and Kate to join the Queen and other Royals at Sandringham for Christmas

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will be joining other members of the Royal family on their Christmas break in Norfolk, reports suggested today.

The couple are expected to spend Christmas together at Sandringham, before the Duke is posted to the Falkland islands for a six week tour as a search and rescue pilot.

Thousands of well-wishers gather each year to greet the Royals as they attend the Christmas day service at the church of St Mary Magdalene, close to Sandringham House.

Last year, Prince William was not present on Christmas Day because he was on duty at RAF Valley, in Anglesey.

As well as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh are expected to be joined by Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall, The Princess Royal and her husband, Vice Admiral Timothy Laurence; the Earl and Countess of Wessex, the Duke of York, Prince Harry, Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie, Lady Louise Windsor and Viscount Severn.

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Prince William, a Flight Lieutenant with the RAF, will be posted to the Falklands from February to March for six weeks.

His uncle, the Duke of York, served during the Falklands conflict as a Sea King helicopter pilot.

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The Duke of Cambridge qualified as an RAF Search and Rescue Force (Sarf) helicopter co-pilot last September.

In recent months he has been intensifying his work with the aim of qualifying for a captaincy.

The experience he will gain in the South Atlantic and the flying hours he will notch up answering emergency call-outs will help him achieve his goal.

Prince William's dates have also been chosen to avoid clashing with the Queen's 2012 Diamond Jubilee celebrations.

He will be available to take part in national events staged over an extended four-day bank holiday weekend in June when it is expected he will join the Queen and other senior royals for the Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant.

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