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Duchess Kate preps for first royal Christmas with William, queen

December 14, 2011 |  7:21 pm

Kate Middleton is prepping for her first Royal Christmas

It's a very Duchess Catherine Christmas! Or it will be, as the former Kate Middleton gets ready to spend her first royal holiday with husband Prince William and his family.

Family being Her Majesty the Queen and husband Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, plus Wills' father Charles, Prince of Wales, with bride Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall. And don't forget our quick-footed favorite, Prince Harry. 

Sadly, the Middletons and Kate's sister Pippa won't be on the guest list at storied Sandringham House in Norfolk, England, where the queen has long retreated for her holidays. In-laws are not invited for the festivities.

Among the traditions are a royal hunt, black-tie dinners and even a gift exchange. The demanding schedule requires costume changes and impeccable timing -- or, in other words, the tests will keep coming for Kate.

"It will be a difficult baptism in protocol laced with pitfalls. ... She's first the first outsider since Camilla ... so all eyes will be on her," Robert Jobson, a Ministry-tested royals expert, told Us Weekly.  

If we were Kate, we wouldn't sweat the holidays with her new family. After passing her first royal tour of duty with flying colors, some present-wrapping and figgy pudding with the queen should be a breeze.


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-- Matt Donnelly

Photo: Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, meets guests during a reception at Buckingham Palace. Credit: Gareth Fuller / WPA Pool / Getty Images