Four generations of the Royal Family bake puddings for Christmas

Rhiannon Mills, royal correspondent

Candid photographs of the Queen and her three direct heirs making Christmas puddings have been released.

The pictures show the monarch, Prince Charles, Prince William and Prince George laughing together as they stir the fruit mixture in bowls at Buckingham Palace.

In one, Prince Charles appears to be offering his six-year-old grandson Prince George advice on what he needs to add to his bowl, as Prince William watches and laughs.

Another shows the adults watching and smiling as the youngest future king tries to stir the mixture.

They were taken in the palace's Music Room last week on the day of the royals' annual family lunch.

The Christmas tree behind them is covered with regal decorations and baubles, including crowns, a corgi, a throne and a soldier in what appears to be a Scottish kilt.

The puddings were baked as part of The Royal British Legion's Together at Christmas initiative and will be among 99 puddings distributed to projects in 2020, marking the charity's 99th year.

Director General Charles Byrne said: "Bringing people together is always at the heart of the British Legion.

"(The puddings will) mature for a year and next year we'll hold a Christmas get together around the country, bringing armed forces together."

He continued: "In a lovely way, the Royal Family symbolise the generations of armed forces communities, from Her Majesty right down to Prince George."

The Queen has been patron of The Royal British Legion since 1952 when she became monarch.

The cooking session was filmed and clips will appear in Her Majesty's Christmas message.

Prince Philip remains in hospital after being admitted on Friday for treatment on a pre-existing condition.

The Duke of Edinburgh's planned admission to the private King Edward VII's Hospital in central London was described as a "precautionary measure" by Buckingham Palace.

He was expected to be in hospital for a few days.

The Queen has continued with her usual festive plans, travelling to Sandringham on Friday after the state opening of parliament on Thursday.

As a regular church-goer, the Queen is expected to attend Sunday service but it is not known if the duke will be well enough to join her.