12/25/2012

Queen still brings out a big crowd for traditional Christmas Day outing

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Queen Elizabeth receives flowers from children as she leaves the Christmas Day church service at St. Mary Magdalene Church in Sandringham on Tuesday. (AFP/Getty Images)

There was no William and Kate, but there was still plenty of star power left in the Royal Family on Tuesday, drawing about a thousand people for a glimpse as they attended Christmas Day services at St. Mary Magdalene Church.

2012-12-25T132316Z_01_TOB503_RTRMDNP_3_BRITAINAccording to reports some people arrived as early as 4 a.m. to make sure they were front-of-line to see the royals as they made their trek from Sandringham House to the 11 a.m. service.

The Queen, who is just getting over a cold, was accompanied to the church by her granddaughters Beatrice and Eugenie in a Bentley while others in the family, including 91-year-old Prince Philip, made the traditional walk with other members of the Royal Family. He missed last year's service after undergoing emergency heart surgery.

Prince William and Kate, meanwhile, will have to join up with the Royal Family later. They spent Christmas Day with the Middleton family in Berkshire, where they attended early-morning church services at St. Mark's in Englefield. Prince Harry is also missing from Sandringham this year, on duty with UK troops serving in Afghanistan.

Despite the effects of a cold, the Queen beamed as she left church and met a line of about 50 kids eager to present her with small gifts.

After church, the Royal Family headed back to Sandringham for their Christmas lunch, then a spot of TV-watching as the Queen delivered her annual Christmas message, this time in 3D. (SEE VIDEO BELOW.)

In her message, the Queen paid tribute to all who helped her celebrate her Diamond Jubilee year as well as those who were part of the London Olympics.

"As London hosted a splendid summer of sport, all those who saw the achievement and courage at the Olympic and Paralympic Games were further inspired by the skill, dedication, training and teamwork of our athletes," she said.

Talking about the Thames river pageant highlighting the Diamond Jubilee celebrations in June, she said: "On the barges and the bridges and the banks of the river there were people who had taken their places to cheer through the mist, undaunted by the rain. That day there was a tremendous sense of common determination to celebrate, triumphing over the elements."

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Prince  William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge leave Englefield Church in Englefield in Berkshire. (Reuters)

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Sophie, Countess of Wessex, left, Lady Louise Windsor, Prince Edward, Prince Philip, Prince Andrew and Vice Admiral Sir Timothy Laurence attend the traditional Christmas Day service at St. Mary Magdalene Church near King's Lynn, England. (Getty Images)

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Queen Elizabeth's granddaughter Zara Phillips, wearing a hat by Karen Henriksen, and her husband Mike Tindall arrive for the British royal family's traditional Christmas Day church service. (AP Photo)

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2012-12-25T133924Z_01_TOB512_RTRMDNP_3_BRITAINQueen Elizabeth's granddaughters Princesses Eugenie, left, and Beatrice hold flowers the Queen received from children after attending the the Christmas Day church service. (AP Photo)

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Queen Elizabeth receives flowers from children after attending the Christmas Day church service. (AP Photo)

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Autumn Phillips, Peter Phillips and Princess Anne walk past the well-wishers to St. Mary Magdalene Church. (Getty Images)

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Prince Philip waves as he leaves the family's traditional Christmas Day church service in Sandringham. (AP Photo)

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Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall attend the traditional Christmas Day church service at St. Mary Magdalene Church. (Getty Images)

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Princess Beatrice of York and Princess Eugenie of York watch as Queen Elizabeth accepts a posey of flowers after the Royal Family Christmas Day church service. (AFP/Getty Images)

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Queen Elizabeth, wearing an Angela Kelly gown, records her Christmas message to the Commonwealth, in 3D for the first time, in the White Drawing Room at Buckingham Palace earlier this month. The Queen  paid tribute in her Christmas speech to Great Britain's Olympic and Paralympic athletes for inspiring the nation during a "splendid summer of sport." (Getty Images)

 

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