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Britain’s Royal Family Prepares for Biggest Christmas in Years

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Hemera/Thinkstock(LONDON) — It may be the most wonderful time of year, but for the newest royal, Kate Middleton, it is also the busiest.

The Duchess of Cambridge has been out and about this week, as she prepares to spend her first Christmas with Britain’s royal family. All eyes were on her at the Sun Military Awards in London on Monday night as she stood beside her husband, Prince William, the Duchess of Cambridge. Just hours earlier, the couple attended a more traditional Christmas lunch at Buckingham Palace. It all leads up to the big Christmas weekend.

In keeping with tradition, the royal family will gather at Sandringham house, a country estate that sits on 20,000 acres of land in Eastern England. The festivities begin with high tea on Christmas Eve, followed by a formal dinner and the official opening of gifts.

It is said that 27 royals are expected to gather for the holiday weekend. It reportedly would be the biggest British royal Christmas gathering in years.

People magazine has reported that the Queen has invited Kate’s younger sister Pippa, 27, to join the family for their traditional Boxing Day pheasant shoot on Dec. 26, an event normally reserved for royals only. And a source told US magazine that Kate, William and Pippa, “will all travel together back to Bucklebury and spend the remaining days of Christmas with the other Middleton family members,” following their attendance at the Boxing Day shoot.

Adding to the holiday buzz surrounding the couple is growing speculation that Middleton is pregnant with the couple’s first child. The rumors have swirled since she first refused to eat a product containing peanuts — which is considered off-limits for expectant mothers — at a charity event in Denmark, and then appeared to conspicuously hide her belly with her purse while attending a charity concert earlier this month.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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