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Kate Middleton And Royals Missing Philip At Christmas

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The Queen and members of the Royal Family attended a Christmas Day church service today as the Duke of Edinburgh recuperated in hospital following surgery.

The Duchess of Cambridge joined royals at the service at a church on the Queen's estate in Sandringham, Norfolk, for the first time as 90-year-old Prince Philip was being treated at Papworth Hospital near Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, following treatment for a blocked coronary artery.

Police estimated 3,000 well-wishers had gathered outside St Mary Magdalene Church to see royals, including the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall, the Duke of Cambridge, Prince Harry, the Princess Royal, the Duke of York, and the Earl and Countess of Wessex, arrive.

England rugby player Mike Tindall and the Queen's granddaughter Zara Phillips, who married in the summer, also attended the service.

The royals traditionally gather at Sandringham for Christmas. Philip normally walks the few hundred yards from the main house to the church and is not thought to have missed a Christmas Day service before.

Well-wishers called out with questions about the Duke, but members of the family did not respond.

The Duchess of Cambridge is spending her first Christmas as part of the Royal Family following her marriage to Prince William, now the Duke of Cambridge, in April.

By 9.30am hundreds of people were waiting at the gates, with queues stretching back around 300 yards.

Veteran royal-watcher Mary Relph, 77, from Shouldham, near Sandringham, said the royals had been spending Christmas at Sandringham for the last two decades and queues had never been as long.

"I have never seen queues like this on Christmas Day before, I have never seen this amount of people here since Diana was alive," she said.

"People are obviously coming to see Kate Middleton."

She said she was sure the Duke of Edinburgh had never missed a Christmas at Sandringham before.

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