See why Prince William and Kate aren't heading to Sandringham for Christmas this year

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will break with tradition this year as they head to Berkshire with their children, Prince George and Princess Charlotte, rather than joining the Queen at Sandringham for Christmas. There they'll spend quality time with Kate's parents Carole and Michael Middleton. "The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and their children will have a private Christmas day with the Middleton family," sources told Hello!.

TAP TO VIEW GALLERYPrince William and Kate will spend Christmas with the Middleton family

Although Prince William and Kate are firm regulars at the festivities in the Queen's residence, this marks the second time since they married in 2011 that the royal couple won't be in attendance. No doubt this Christmas will be particularly special for the Middleton family. Not only are they preparing for Pippa's wedding to James Matthews next year, but this is the first time that little George and Charlotte will be spending Christmas day itself with them.

THE QUEEN'S ROYAL CHRISTMAS TRADITIONS

The Cambridges won't miss out on the Sandringham celebrations entirely — Hello! understands that they are expected to head to the estate in Norfolk at some point over the festive season, possibly on Boxing Day where little George and Charlotte can enjoy some quality time with uncle Prince Harry as well as grandfather Prince Charles and his wife the Duchess of Cornwall.

The royals head to the Queen's Norfolk residence every year

Mike and Zara Tindall will also be there with their two-year-old daughter Mia making for a fun playdate for George and Charlotte, as they will spend Christmas Day with the Queen and husband Prince Philip for royal traditions including a candle-lit dinner on Christmas Eve and gathering for the Queen's speech after a delicious roast turkey dinner.

This year there will be plenty for the royal family to talk about. Not only have Zara and Mike recently announced that they are expecting their second baby, but Prince Harry will no doubt have interesting tales from his trip to the Caribbean — and perhaps even share some sweet anecdotes about his new girlfriend Meghan Markle.

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