This year's royal Christmas breaks with all sorts of traditions: Willand Kate are celebrating with her family instead of with the royalfamily. Queen Elizabeth II had to skip Sunday service to cope with acold, which almost never happens. And she will appear in 3D for thefirst time for her annual Christmas Day broadcast on Tuesday.
PrinceWilliam and pregnant Duchess Kate, who's been struggling with morningsickness so acute she had to be hospitalized, will spend Christmasprivately with the Middletons at their estate in Bucklebury, the palacesaid, instead of joining the royals for their traditional holidaygathering at Sandringham in Norfolk.
The Telegraphand other British media reported that the former Kate Middleton isdoing better but wanted to spend her last Christmas before the baby isborn next summer closer to her family and her doctors.
They spentChristmas 2011 with the royal family, her first, and the palace saidthe couple plan to join the family at some point during the holidays.And Prince Harry won't be with the family either; the Army helicopterpilot is serving in Afghanistan and plans to phone home on Christmas.
Meanwhile,up at Sandringham, it was just the queen's husband, Prince Philip, 91,and the York family, his son Prince Andrew, Duke of York, and hisgranddaughters, Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie, caught by thecameras on their traditional stroll to services at the church near theestate.
The queen, 86, was fighting the remnants of a cold, thepalace said, and stayed home, a rarity for the monarch who's usually inblooming health. But she will be well enough to attend the Christmas Dayservices, the palace said. Last year it was Philip who suffered acardiac episode at Sandringham and had to be rushed to the hospital foran emergency stent.
Before leaving for Norfolk, the queen tapedher Christmas message, this time to be broadcast in 3D for the firsttime. The palace even allowed amusing pictures of her watching clips ofthe speech wearing her fancy pair of 3D glasses.
The annual speechis important because it is her Diamond Jubilee year, and because it isher own words, the only public address she ever makes that is notwritten or edited by the government. This year, after the jubileecelebrations, the successful 2012 Olympics in London, and the news ofthe duchess' pregnancy, she has a lot to talk about: a "summer full ofexcitement and drama," she says in the speech, according to the Telegraph.