THE BRITISH ROYAL FAMILY CELEBRATE CHRISTMAS AT SANDRINGHAM

The British royal family celebrated Christmas at their Norfolk estate, Sandringham.  Queen Elizabeth II was surrounded by members of her immediate family including her children, Charles, Prince of Wales; Anne, the Princess Royal; Andrew, the Duke of York; and Edward, the Earl of Wessex.  Also present were the Queen’s grandchildren, including Prince Harry and Prince William.  The crowds who greeted the royal family as they attended Christmas day church service, were especially large this year because it was the first time that Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, spent Christmas at Sandringham as a member of the royal family.  Conspicuously absent this year was Prince Philip who was still recuperating at hospital from heart surgery.

Camilla, Catherine and William, Christmas day, 2011 (photo: Chris Jackson/Getty Images)

Large crowds cheer the Duchess of Cambridge on Christmas day at Sandringham, 2011 (photo: Chris Jackson/Getty Images)

Catherine leaves Sandringham church, December 25, 2011 (photo: Chris Jackson/Getty Images)

The Duchess of Cambridge, celebrates her firts Christmas as a royal, waves to the large crowds at Sandringham (photo: Chris Jackson/Getty Images)

William and Catherine, December 25, 2011 at Sandringham (photo: Chris Jackson/Getty Images)

Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, attends church on Christmas day with the royal family, her first as a member of Britain's royal family (photo: Chris Jackson/Getty Images)

The royal family walking on the grounds of Sandringham, Norfolk during their Christmas break. In the rear are William and Catherine (photo: Chris Jackson/Getty Images)

The Duchess of Cambridge accepts flowers from children, Sandringham, December 25, 2011 (photo: Bauer Griffin)

Andrew, Charles, Camilla, William, Catherine and Harry attend church, Christmas Day, 2011, Sandringham (photo: Bauer Griffin)

The Queen attends Christmas day church service, this year without the Duke of Edinburgh, who is recovering from heart surgery, December 25, 201 (photo: Chris Jackson/Getty Images)

Assisted by her granddaughter, Princess Eugenie, Queen Elizabeth II accepts flowers after Christmas day church services, 2011 (photo: Bauer Griffin)

A closeu-up of the Queen on Christmas day, December 25, 2011 (photo: Chris Jackson/Getty Images)

Queen Elizabeth II during her annual Christmas message, this year focusing on the family unit (photo: WPA Pool/Getty Images)

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