Kate Middleton and Prince William‘s insistence on spending Christmas with the Middleton family instead of with Queen Elizabeth is causing some ripples, if not waves, in royal-watching circles.
It’s nearly unheard of for someone so close to the British throne to turn down the invitation to the Queen’s Sandringham Christmas festivities, but according to the Daily Mail, Kate and William have done exactly that twice since they were married in 2011.
The young royals spent their first Christmas as a married couple with Carole and Michael Middleton, and now after obediently attending the traditional Sandringham gathering of the royal family for four years in a row, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are “breaking royal tradition” again.
Middleton and William are often at the center of rumors about royal feuds with Queen Elizabeth, but it looks like those rumors are completely off base and have nothing to do with their Christmas plans.
The young parents have always been clear that the children come first, and their determination to make the best decision for Prince George and Princess Charlotte is probably why Kate has chosen Christmas at the Middletons this year.
It’s not that William and his wife question the Queen’s affection for her grandchildren, though. It’s just that a Middleton Christmas is a whole lot more fun than the holiday at Sandringham!
Kate’s sister, Pippa Middleton, has described her family’s Christmas as magical, and “blissfully calm,” and according to parenting expert Lisa Clegg, that’s exactly what Kate and William’s children need right now. They are acting on their “desire to put Charlotte and George first,” says Clegg.
“If William and Kate can take a step back from Official Royal duties at certain times, in order to keep life as simple and normal as possible for George and Charlotte then that’s absolutely the right decision.”
At Sandringham, the little prince and princess would be expected to toe the line and march through Christmas Day on a strict “military operation” schedule that applies to everything from walking the dogs and eating breakfast to specific bedtimes for adults and children alike. The family lunch is “penciled in for just 50 minutes.”
Over at the Middleton’s $5 million mansion, things are done a little differently. The family hangs out however they want, and Michael Middleton is known to “liven up proceedings” with fancy dress.
On one occasion, grandpa Middleton wore a sumo wrestler costume, and since he owns an enormous party supply company, it’s a safe bet that he has plenty more where that came from.
It totally makes sense that William and Kate want to give their children a real childhood while it’s still possible. William is second in line to the throne after his father, Prince Charles, and the Queen is 90 years old.
It’s inevitable that their lives will change soon, and the couple wants to make the most of the freedom while they still can. Spending the holiday with the Middletons will help. Clegg agrees that being away from the cameras and the protocol is super important for George and Charlotte.
“They are only little and need to be able to be children and get carried away with the excitement and fun of Christmas, without the world looking on them. For this reasons, it’s beneficial for them to be in a more relaxed environment.”
The monarch is reportedly in support of the Middleton’s hosting Christmas for Kate’s family this year, and that’s a sign that the royals are loosening up.
For anyone watching The Crown, it’s obvious that in Queen Elizabeth’s youth, commoner Middleton would not have been tolerated as a bride for the prince, and as for turning down the royal Christmas plans, that would have been unheard of.
Vanity Fair points out the interesting timing of Kate and William deciding to refuse Queen Elizabeth’s invitation, while Prince Harry’s girlfriend, Meghan Markle, doesn’t even get an invitation.
Markle is too new in Prince Harry’s life and won’t get to attend royal family gatherings until her relationship with Harry is made official.
In the meantime, the Irish Independent reports that Meghan is working hard to learn the ropes, so when her turn comes to join Harry and the rest of the inner circle of royals at Sandringham, she’ll be ready. Harry’s private secretary, Jason Knauf, is helping Markle learn her way around all the complicated royal rules.
“There have been times where Meghan’s been unsure [of protocol] and having a direct line to Harry’s most trusted aides has been a godsend.”
What do you think? Will next Christmas see Prince Harry and Meghan Markle at Sandringham, along with Kate Middleton, Prince William, Prince George, and Princess Charlotte?
[Featured Image by Dominic Lipinski – WPA Pool/Getty Images]