A Middleton Christmas For Kate And William

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are to spend Christmas Day privately with the Middleton family, St James' Palace has announced.

Kate and William will break with tradition by not celebrating with the Queen and the rest of the royal family in Sandringham.

The decision will help the couple avoid the public eye and allow Kate to rest as she continues to battle acute morning sickness.

But it will come as a disappointment to royal fans who traditionally turn out to see the family attend church on Christmas morning.

Last year, Kate and William were a huge draw as they made the walk from Sandringham up to St Mary Magdalene Church for the first time as man and wife.

Staying in Berkshire also means that the Duchess of Cambridge will be within closer reach of King Edward VII hospital in London where she was treated for hyperemesis gravidarum.

The move was made with the approval of the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh and the couple will visit Sandringham at some point over the holiday.

Prince Harry will also not be at Sandringham this year because he is still serving in Afghanistan.

Kate, 30, is now believed to be close to the end of her first trimester after being forced to go public with her pregnancy early due to her illness.

She spent several days in hospital at the start of December after becoming sick during another weekend with her parents.

Since then, she has been resting at Kensington Palace in central London and cancelled all her scheduled appearances.

The Duchess did manage to recover enough to present the BBC Sports Personality Of The Year Award to Bradley Wiggins last Sunday.

And she was also seen going to the wider royal Christmas celebrations at Buckingham Palace earlier this week.

Experts have warned that she could continue to suffer with severe sickness throughout the pregnancy.

Kate's sister Pippa has given an insight into her Middleton family's festive plans.

Writing in the latest edition of The Spectator magazine, she said Christmas in Bucklebury was likely to be "blissfully calm".

"Home is, happily, where I'll be this year," she said. "The Middletons' Christmas should be blissfully calm. We're good at keeping each other's spirits up."

And she revealed that her father Michael liked to surprise the family by appearing in fancy dress.

"He buys a new costume each year and typically gets a bit carried away - a couple of Christmases ago, he appeared in an inflatable sumo outfit," she wrote.