November 26, 2020

Queen to host royals’ Christmas, Kate’s first

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FILE - In this June 11, 2011 file photo, from left, Britain's Duchess of Cambridge, Prince William the Duke of Cambridge, Countess of Wessex Sophie, Prince Edward the Earl of Wessex, their daughter Louise, Princess Anne, partially seen, her husband Tim Lawrence, Britain's Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Harry, Prince Philip the Duke of Edinburgh, and Prince Andrew, watch a Royal Air Force flypast on the balcony of Buckingham Palace after returning from the Trooping the Colour ceremony marking the Queen's official birthday in London. Queen Elizabeth II's extended family will gather at Sandringham Estate for a traditional holiday weekend that will mark Kate Middleton's first Christmas as a royal, Palace officials said Friday, Dec. 23, 2011. (AP Photo/Akira Suemori, File)

LONDON (AP) — It will be a traditional Christmas weekend for Queen Elizabeth II’s extended family, which now includes Kate Middleton, with the quiet holiday break to be followed by a year’s worth of festivities to mark the queen’s 60th year on the throne.

Most of the senior royals, including Middleton and her husband, Prince William, will be dispatched across the globe to help the aging monarch celebrate her Diamond Jubilee in grand style.

Elizabeth and her husband, Prince Philip, are planning to mark the event with a series of tours throughout England to culminate with a celebration in London in early June that will include an unprecedented pageant on the River Thames with up to 1000 boats taking part.

In a carefully choreographed scenario, the flotilla will be led by the queen aboard the Royal Barge.

“They’re hoping the Diamond Jubilee will be as successful as the Golden Jubilee in 2002,” said Joe Little, managing editor of Majesty magazine. “The media then thought the public wasn’t interested, but by the big weekend there were 1 million people in the streets celebrating. I think that will happen again.”

He said the queen was surprised by the outpouring of affection in 2002.

“Even after 60 years she is very self-effacing, and she’s always amazed when people turn out to celebrate her achievements,” he said.

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