Prince William & Kate Middleton attend Buckingham Palace Christmas lunch

The Duke and Duchess kicked off their Christmas celebrations yesterday, with a pre-Christmas lunch with the rest of the royals

Kate Middleton’s first Christmas as a royal began in earnest yesterday, as she and Prince William attended an official pre-Christmas lunch, hosted by the Queen at Buckingham palace.

WILLIAM & KATE: RELATIONSHIP IN PHOTOS

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were spied driving to the Queen’s London home in their black Range Rover, with Kate seemingly in high spirits, smiling from the passenger seat.

A fan of recycling her wardrobe item, the Duchess appeared to be sporting the same scarlet L.K. Bennett coat she wore during her trip to Denmark last month.

William and Kate were joined by a host of other royals – including the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall, Zara Phillips and Mike Tindall and Prince and Princess Michael of Kent – at the occasion, held ahead of the royal trip to Sandringham over Christmas weekend.

Noticeably absent, however, were Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie, who were reportedly excused from the event to attend the wedding of close friend Holly Branson, on Richard Branson’s Necker island.

It’s thought William and Kate, who dazzled the Sun’s Military Awards on Monday night, will visit London charity Centrepoint in South London today, which provides accommodation for homeless teens.

The couple are then expected to travel to the Sandringham for Kate’s first Christmas with the royals.

Although December 25th with be strictly family only, it’s thought Kate’s sister Pippa has been invited to join the official shoot on Boxing Day.

WILLIAM & KATE: RELATIONSHIP IN PHOTOS

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