Prince George Surprises Santa: Kate Middleton, Prince William Stun St. Nick With Shock Visit

Jonathan Vankin - Author

Dec. 21 2014, Updated 12:32 p.m. ET

Prince George came face to face with Santa Claus on Saturday, for the first time in his 17 months on the planet, delighting and surprising England’s future king. But the real surprise was the shock visit by George with his parents, another future English king, Prince William — and of course George’s mother, the international fashion icon Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge.

The royal couple and their offspring, Prince George, arrived in the English countryside county of Norfolk on Thursday for a quiet holiday season shared with family and friends, free from official duties and obligations.

The Santa’s Magical Journey display is located in Thursford, about 18 miles from the royals’ country home, known as Anmer Hall.

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But on Saturday morning, the staff at the Santa’s Magical Journey holiday theme park received a surprising phone call. The Christmas exhibit would be receiving an unofficial royal visit later that day.

And sure enough, Prince George, with William and Kate in tow, made his appearance soon after the phone call.

But the park, slapped with the quick warning, made no special accommodations for the royals, who waited in line with everyone else, much to the delight and shock of the ordinary English folk also waiting to bring their children into the elaborate winter wonderland exhibit.

In fact, Prince William was required to open his wallet and slap down the £15.50 entrance fee — a little less than 25 bucks in American money — to allow Prince George to toddle his way into the display. The elder Prince and Kate Middleton paid the standard admission fee of £9.50, or $15, each for adults.

Actually, the royals had booked tickets in advance, but secretly, to avoid any publicity for the family excursion.

Once inside the exhibit, a simulated version of The North Pole — at least as it would exist in Santa’s world — Prince George reportedly marveled, wide-eyed, at reindeer, polar bears, and even penguins, which apparently had somehow strayed more than 12,000 miles from their natural habitat at the South Pole.

Of course, all of the “animals” were animatronic — no more real than the falling snow at the Santa-themed park. But that made no difference to Prince George, who finally, after some trepidation, entered the house in which Santa Claus himself dwelled.

There, George met a surprised Father Christmas himself, as Kate Middleton and Prince William gazed proudly, off to the side.

Prince William and Kate Middleton had visited the Santa theme park once previously, in 2010, as part of an official charity event. But Prince George was but a twinkle in his parents’ eyes at that time.


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