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Kate sorry for not bringing George

The Duchess of Cambridge has apologised for not bringing Prince George to the Royal Family's traditional Christmas Day church service.

William and Kate joined the Queen, Duke of Edinburgh and others for the religious gathering near the private Sandringham estate in Norfolk.

But George was not present among the congregation who included the Prince of Wales and Prince Harry - and neither was the Duchess of Cornwall, who has a bad back.

Kate's parents Michael and Carole Middleton and her siblings James and Pippa also sat among the pews.

After the service the Duchess apologised to a mother and her young daughter, among 2,000 wellwishers outside the church, for not bringing her son.

When Maddison Neal, aged eight from nearby Dersingham, gave Kate a Milky Bar selection box for George, she replied: "I'm sorry we didn't bring George but you would have heard him in the church."

Maddison's mother Sarah, 37, said: "We were hoping Kate would take the present but we didn't know if we'd be lucky enough to meet her.

"Maddison met George on Sunday at the service at Anmer church. She helped him with his lantern and he blew her a kiss."

Kate is around five months pregnant but there was no hint of her baby bump under her brown double-breasted coat, thought to be from Moloh.

Another well-wisher among the crowds, Mary Young, 20, from Dereham near Norwich, said: "I wanted to come to see Kate. I told her she looked beautiful. She said thank you and that she feels big.

"She doesn't look it. She also said she was sorry she didn't bring George."

It is thought that the Cambridges, who are now living at Anmer Hall which is close to Sandringham, were having Christmas lunch with the Middletons and not the Queen.

William and Kate walked hand in hand among other members of the Royal Family from nearby Sandringham to St Mary Magdalene Church where the service was held.

Other members of the family present included Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie and their father the Duke of York.

The Earl and Countess of Wessex were with their daughter Lady Louise Windsor and Peter Phillips was joined by his wife Autumn.

Kim Dawson, 43, from Downham Market, came to see the royals with her mother Elise Dawson, 83, from Bedford.

William stopped to chat to the pair and the 43-year-old said the Duke told her Prince George was doing really really well and that they left him at the nursery because it was a bit cold.

"But they were looking forward to going back to see what destruction he's created - George was having a lovely day."

Patricia Cushing, 65, from the village of Yaxham near Norwich who was joined by her daughter Anne-Marie Fewell and her granddaughters Hannah, five, and Emelie Fewell, four, said Harry joked about the terrible singing during the church service.

It was played, via speakers, to the crowds who had gathered to watch the royals arrive and Christmas carols sung included Hark The Herald Angels Sing and O Come All Ye Faithful.

Mrs Cushing said: "Harry asked us if we were able to hear the carols and we said we could and he said 'I hope you didn't hear us singing - it was horrendous'.

"I think he was joking when he said they had to play a tape of the carol because the singing was so bad."

Harry proved popular with the crowds and Jill Lee from the town of Over, Cambridgeshire, stole a kiss from him.

She said: "I just said to Harry 'Happy Christmas' and he put his face forward and I gave him a kiss and he said 'You really love Christmas'.

"He smelt nice and his face was really smooth."

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