The moment the Duke of Cambridge tenderly bid farewell to the Queen after reuniting in public for the first time since March was caught on camera last night.
Prince William and Kate Middleton, both 38, finished off their whistle-stop Christmas Express tour of the UK by visiting Windsor Castle yesterday, where they met with the monarch, 94, Prince Charles, 71, and Camilla, 73, Prince Edward, 56, and Sophie Wessex, 55, and the Princess Royal, 70.
It was the first time the senior members of the royal family have been seen in public en masse since before the Covid-19 crisis took hold in March.
As the evening came to a close, and the Queen began to move up the steps into the warmth of the castle, Prince William could be heard gently calling out: ‘Bye Gran.’
It is currently unknown when the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will see the Queen again after the traditional royal Christmas was cancelled.
‘Bye Gran’: The moment the Duke of Cambridge, 38, tenderly bid farewell to the Queen, 94, after reuniting in public for the first time since March was caught on camera last night
As a Salvation Army band played festive tunes for the Queen and her family gathered around her, the head of state could be seen quietly singing along,
The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall stood socially distanced nearby, as did William and Kate, the Earl and Countess of Wessex and the Princess Royal with Christmas trees lit with lights nearby, adding to the atmosphere.
At the end of the performance the Queen, wearing an Angela Kelly, hat and coat in Christmas red, and a ruby and diamond spray brooch, chatted to her family in turn.
Prince William and Kate slowly made their way to the monarch, before stepping out onto the path, at which point the Duke gently called out: ‘Bye gran’.
It is currently unknown when the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will see the Queen again after the traditional royal Christmas was cancelled
The monarch turned and smiled at the couple, nodding to them, before she moved on to speak with Sophie Wessex.
During their royal tour of the UK, Prince William and Kate admitted that they were still struggling over their plans for Christmas.
The Duke and Duchess told students in Cardiff yesterday that they didn’t know who to spend the festive season with.
‘It is so difficult, we are still trying to make plans,’ William said. ‘It’s difficult to know what to do for the best.’
The Duke and Duchess confessed during their royal tour of the UK yesterday that they are still struggling over their plans for Christmas
The couple’s comments come days after a royal expert claimed the Queen wants her children and grandchildren to ‘enjoy Christmas with their other loved-ones’ and ‘not feel torn’ as she prepares for a ‘quiet’ festive season at Windsor.
Lily Faulkner, 21, a second year Politics and International Studies student at Cardiff University said after her chat with the Cambridges: ‘They were trying like the rest of us to make Christmas plans with their family and still weren’t 100 per cent sure of what they were going to do or where they were going to be.’
The Queen and Prince Philip traditionally spend the festive season with close family at Sandringham, in Norfolk.
But it was announced last week that this year they will forgo the festivities and remain at Windsor Castle, where they have been isolating with a ‘bubble’ of staff since October.
The Queen 94, and Prince Philip, 99, traditionally spend the festive season with close family at Sandringham, in Norfolk. But it was announced earlier this week that this year they will forgo the festivities and remain at Windsor Castle, where they have been isolating with a ‘bubble’ of staff since October. Pictured: the Cambridges and their eldest children at Sandringham last year
The Cambridges may decide to spend Christmas day with Kate’s parents, Carole and Michael Middleton, pictured, in Berkshire after the Queen cancelled the traditional Sandringham family gathering
It is understood the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh will not take advantage of the relaxed Covid restrictions to form a Christmas bubble with other households.
Vanity Fair’s Katie Nicholl reported: ‘The Queen has said that this is the year for her family to enjoy Christmases with other family members and not feel torn, as they often do, when a royal Christmas takes priority.’
It means the couple face spending Christmas Day without any of their four children for the first time since 1949, when the then Princess Elizabeth left a one-year-old Charles in the UK so she could be with Prince Philip in Malta.
Prince William and Kate are most likely to spend Christmas at Anmer Hall, Norfolk or with the Duchess’ parents, Carole and Michael Middleton, in Berkshire.
Where will the royal family spend Christmas?
Charles and Camilla: Understood to be spending it alone at their home of Highgrove but will see Queen and Phillip ‘at some point’ during the holidays.
They will also see Camilla’s children Tom Parker Bowles and Laura Lopes at some point.
Prince William and Kate Middleton: Could spend Christmas at Anmer Hall, Norfolk or with the Middletons in Berkshire.
The Wessexes: Prince Edward and Sophie are likely to spend Christmas at their home of Bagshot Park in Surrey.
The Yorks: Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson are likely to spend Christmas with Princess Eugenie and Princess Beatrice, as well as their husbands Jack Brooksbank and Edo Mapelli Mozzi. They may spend Christmas at the Royal Lodge in Windsor.
Princess Anne: The Princess Royal may spend Christmas with her children Zara Tindall and Peter Philips and their families on their estate of Gatcombe.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle: The Sussexes are spending Christmas in California.