Duchess Kate's pregnancy adds twist to Queen's Christmas plans

Queen 2011
Queen Elizabeth stands in the 1844 Room of Buckingham Palace after recording her annual Christmas Day broadcast last year. (Getty Images)

In case you hadn't guessed it already, family is pretty important to Queen Elizabeth, and there's no more important time of year to express that than Christmas. And if that means bending a few of her 'tradition' rules, so be it.

She'll have at least a couple dozen Royal Family members have confirmed their attendance at Sandringham, but the biggest question mark still swirls around Prince William and wife Kate, whose bouts of morning sickness have made her, in sports parlance, a game-day decision.

If not Sandringham, she will likely be with her own family at Bucklebury. However, the latest speculation, according to UsMagazine.com, is that the Queen has sweetened the pot by extending an invitation for Kate's parents, Carole and Michael, to join the royal clan at her estate, thereby ensuring Kate's attendance.

1988That would be a definite break in tradition which demands the holidays be reserved for immediate family only.

Last year was Kate's first Christmas Sandringham, where she got a first-hand look at the tradition-laden activities, which includes many changes of clothes for the various meals and the annual trek to church Christmas morning, greeting the locals along the way (photo, from 1988).

Speaking of tradition, the Queen's annual Christmas Day message (3 p.m., check your listings) gets a mini-makeover this year with a 3D broadcast -- just another technological leap for the monarch, who makes a brave attempt to keep up with the young 'uns.

The broadcasts are, by themselves, mini time capsules. Below, you get a sense of that, but also a sense of the consistent themes the Queen hits on at this time of year. The first is from 1957, her first televised broadcast. The second, from 1984, is interesting for its scenes of a newborn Harry and very young Prince William with Charles and Diana.



Christmas message 1984



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