Pregnant Kate breaks Royal tradition: Off to mum's for Christmas

UK royals usually join Queen at country retreat

Britain's Prince William and his pregnant wife Kate will spend Christmas Day with her parents, their office said on Saturday, in a break with the tradition of royals joining Queen Elizabeth at her country estate at Sandringham.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will celebrate in private with Carole and Michael Middleton at their home in the village of Bucklebury, about 50 miles (80 km) west of London.

"The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will spend Christmas Day privately with the Middleton family," a St James's Palace spokesman said.

The couple's decision was taken with the approval of the Queen. They are expected to visit Sandringham, in eastern England, for part of the Christmas holiday.

Kate, 30, who married the second-in-line to the throne in April 2011, spent four days in hospital this month with an acute form of morning sickness.

Members of the British royal family usually spend Christmas at Sandringham and stay until February, following a custom set by Queen Elizabeth's father and grandfather. Kate and William spent Christmas there last year, meeting scores of wellwishers.

The Middletons are likely to join millions of Britons in watching Queen Elizabeth's annual Christmas broadcast, a tradition that her grandfather George V started in 1932.

For the first time, the monarch has recorded her television broadcast in 3D. It will be shown at 1500 GMT on Dec. 25.

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