A royal Christmas for Kate

2006-11-26 14:29
London - Prince William's girlfriend Kate Middleton has been given an unprecedented invite to spend Christmas Day with the British royal family, The Mail on Sunday newspaper reported.

If the 24-year-old says yes, it will be a significant sign of her growing acceptance in royal circles and a very clear acknowledgement of her part in the life of William, second in line to the throne.

Last year she was only invited to spend the following day, Boxing Day, with the royals. It would be the first time that an unmarried partner had been invited to spend Christmas Day at Sandringham, Queen Elizabeth II's private estate in eastern England where the royal family spend their winter break.

Middleton now has to decide whether to spend December 25 with her family or William and the queen, The Mail on Sunday said.

A source close to Middleton told the tabloid: "Kate has been invited to Sandringham for Christmas lunch, but she has yet to accept. It is incredibly prestigious, so she is unlikely to turn down such an important invitation.

"Kate knows that, if she and William stay together, there will have to be compromises.

"She knows that it is a great honour to be asked and that William would never not be present at the Christmas lunch."

A spokesperson for Clarence House, William's official residence, said: "Christmas plans are being discussed, but we do not discuss royal guests."

William met Middleton at St Andrews University in Scotland, where he earned a master of arts degree in geography.

They have been together for four years and lived together during their student days. Their relationship is kept as closely guarded as possible.

British retailer Woolworths has produced 100 000 commemorative souvenirs ready to be deployed to stores if William and Middleton get engaged.

"If Kate does come it will send the rumour mill into overdrive," a royal aide told the newspaper.

"Although they had a good laugh about the engagement china, there is already a lot of pressure on William to pop the question, and it just made matters worse."

William is currently training to be a British Army officer. Although he is concentrating on his military career, the 24-year-old is also patron of a number of organisations and charities and undertakes some royal duties.


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