The Queen reunites with Duchess Kate, Prince William and three of her children for carols session at Windsor Castle

By Zach Harper and Heather Cichowski

What an incredible way to end the royal train tour! Fresh off a whirlwind trip around England, Scotland and Wales, Duchess Kate and Prince William joined the Queen, Prince Charles, Duchess Camilla, Princess Anne, the Countess of Wessex and Prince Edward for a very special Christmas carol session outside Windsor Castle on Dec. 8.

The Queen must be very pleased of Duchess Kate and Prince William for finishing their royal train tour! Photo: © GLYN KIRK/AFP via Getty Images

The group haven't all been together since March 9, when they attended the Commonwealth Day service at Westminster Abbey. While some of them have visited each other separately since then, the family has been dealing with the reality of the coronavirus pandemic, just like the rest of us. The Prince of Wales came down with COVID-19 that month and had recovered a month later, while the Duke of Cambridge was reported to have contracted the illness just after his father.

Charles will also reportedly see the Queen at some point over the holiday period from Dec. 23 to 28. Photo: © GLYN KIRK/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Due to COVID-19, the family made sure to follow social distancing guidelines, standing well apart from each other as they listened to carols performed by The Salvation Army Band. Kate and William seemed very pleased to see Her Majesty, who was pictured speaking to the Duchess of Cambridge at the event as the 38-year-old beamed back at the monarch, who will turn 95 next year.

Charles will also reportedly see the Queen at some point over the holiday period from Dec. 23 to 28. Photo: © GLYN KIRK/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

The Queen was dressed festively in red, and was positively grinning from ear-to-ear.

Look at that smile! Photo: © GLYN KIRK/AFP via Getty Images

The eight royals also met with volunteers from Berkshire, who will help support others over the Christmas holidays.

Her Majesty has been isolating with the Duke of Edinburgh at Windsor Castle. She's spent much of the pandemic there, save for a brief summer break in Balmoral and a trip to Sandringham to reunite with Prince Philip in September. The two later returned to Windsor together.

The Queen, Prince Charles, the Duchess of Cornwall, Prince William, Duchess Kate, Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan all at the Commonwealth Day Service 2020 on March 9, 2020 in London. Photo: © Phil Harris - WPA Pool/Getty Images

PHOTOS: Duchess Kate and Prince William spread holiday cheer on royal train tour

The tender reunion comes after the Royal Family's Christmas plans started to be announced in light of COVID-19. For the first time since 1988, the family will not spend the holidays at Sandringham.

Last week, it was revealed Her Majesty and the Duke of Edinburgh would celebrate Christmas "quietly" at Windsor Castle. It was then reported Charles and Camilla would spend the holiday at Highgrove, their home in Gloucestershire. The Prince of Wales reportedly planned to see his mother at some point over the holidays.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge making marshmallows during a stop in Cardiff on their royal train tour on Dec. 8. 2020. Photo: © JONATHAN BUCKMASTER/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

It remains to be seen what the Cambridges and their children, Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis, will do for the holidays. They could choose to spend Christmas with Kate's parents, Carole and Michael Middleton. They haven't spent Christmas Day with them since 2016. It's possible Kate's sister, Pippa Middleton, and her husband, James Matthews, could bubble with the Cambridges and Carole and Michael at the Middleton family home in Berkshire. Pippa and James have a son, Arthur, so it would be nice for him to spend time with his cousins over the break.

But only three households can be part of that bubble from Dec. 23 to 28 as per U.K. government guidelines, meaning either Pippa and her family could join, or the duchess's brother, James Middleton, and his fiancée, Alizee Thevenet, would travel to Berkshire. James and Alizee recently spent time in Scotland on the Glen Affric estate, which James Matthews's family owns. They also isolated with Carole and Michael at the beginning of the pandemic, so they may opt to stay in Scotland, or Pippa and James could travel there to spend Christmas with them.

Pippa Middleton, James Middleton, Michael Middleton, Duchess Kate, Princess Charlotte, Prince George and Prince William attend Christmas Day church service in Berkshire in 2016. Photo: © Samir Hussein/Samir Hussein/WireImage

As mentioned, Kate and William just finished a whirlwind tour of England, Scotland and Wales. They borrowed the Queen's royal train and visited frontline workers, volunteers and those who use social services to thank them for their work during the pandemic. They also heard about how people have been doing in isolation and the challenges they've dealt with during the last nine months. On Dec. 8, the final day of their tour, the U.K. government began vaccinating citizens against COVID-19.


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