By Brittany Chain and Matthew Lodge For Mailonline
The Wales children captured the hearts of a nation on Sunday as they joined their parents and King Charles for his first Christmas walkabout as monarch.
Little Louis cheekily guided the Princess of Wales through the crowd and waved at the cameras, while his older siblings smiled politely and greeted the crowds which had gathered outside Sandringham church for a glimpse of the smallest royals.
George, Charlotte and Louis spoke with well wishers and received gifts from members of the public alongside William and Kate after their traditional Christmas Day church service on the Norfolk estate.
Among the crowd was Gemma Clark, 42, who travelled with her 72-year-old father Paul Clark from Long Sutton, Lincolnshire, and gave toys to the children.
Ms Clark, who was in a wheelchair, said it was ‘absolutely brilliant’ to meet William and Kate and their three children.
‘I love them to bits, especially the children, the children are amazing,’ she said.
‘Prince Louis – I love Louis. He’s always cheeky, that Louis is, but I love him.’
She said she gave each of the three children a novelty toy called a gonk, which is like a festive gnome with a pointed hat. She also gave flowers to Kate.
And Louis seemed to enjoy the attention, getting so caught up in it he was at one stage forced to run to catch up with his big sister Charlotte.
The Prince and Princess of Wales, along with their children George, Charlotte and Louis, speak with a member of the public outside St Mary Magdalene Church in Sandringham today
Prince Louis waves at the camera during a walkabout with his parents
Prince Louis shakes hands with a member of the public after the Windsor’s went to their annual Christmas Day church service
Despite never having taken part in a Christmas walkabout before today, Louis proved he is a natural as he flashed a sweet smile at the camera while walking into the church.
The young royal was earlier spotted having a sweet moment with Queen Consort Camilla. Louis and his step-grandmother shared a grin and chatted easily with one another as they strolled out of church side by side.
Video of the sweet moment prompted messages on social media praising the ‘lovely bond’ between the pair.
‘He’s very comfortable with her and she’s got a lovely way with him,’ one person said.
‘As we say in our house: No step, No half, just family.’
The young royal was earlier spotted having a sweet moment with Queen Consort Camilla. Louis and his step-grandmother shared a grin and chatted easily with one another as they strolled out of church side by side. Video of the sweet moment prompted messages on social media praising the ‘lovely bond’ between the pair
Prince Louis holds his mother’s hand as his brother Prince George and sister Princess Charlotte speak to members of the public (left) , as his mother speaks to a little girl (right)
Later, he joined his brother and sister to shake hands with members of the public who had gathered to share their best wishes on the first Christmas the Royal family will be spending without Queen Elizabeth following her death in September.
The mischievous young prince also picked up a Christmas gift from a feathered Santa toy from a well wisher, which he carried with him while his mother spoke to a young girl who had come out to say hello.
‘They said ”thank you very much” and ”happy Christmas”,’ Ms Clark said. ‘I also met the King as well, just for a brief minute. He is absolutely gorgeous, I like King Charles III, I think he’s going to be an amazing King, I really do.’
The family seemed to be having a great time as they joined the King and other senior royals before the broadcasting of his first Christmas speech.
His majesty appeared in high spirits, and smiled and laughed as members of the public passed on their well wishes to him and the rest of the family.
Charles was joined by Camilla, the Queen Consort, at the head of the group, while the Waleses walked just behind them.
Visitors had their bags checked and were subjected to stricter security measures after the King had eggs thrown at him twice this year.
Kate, Princess of Wales, holds a Christmas card given to her by a member of the public earlier today
King Charles III laughs as he greets the public in Sandringham on Christmas day, meeting them as monarch for the first time as he attends the Sandringham service
Prince William, Prince of Wales and Catherine, Princess of Wales with Prince George of Wales, Princess Charlotte of Wales and Prince Louis of Wales attend the Christmas Day service at St Mary Magdalene Church
Prince Louis of Wales looks at the crowd which has gathered to welcome him and the rest of the royal family on Christmas day
Prince William and Kate walked either side of their three children as they made their way to the service, and after the family spent time interacting with royal fans.
Also present was the Earl and Countess of Wessex and their children, along with Princess Beatrice, her husband Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi and their stepson Christopher Woolf.
The disgraced Duke of York was also seen joining the family as they walked to the church, despite suggestions that he would not be allowed to take part. Princess Anne did not make a public appearance, reportedly because she is suffering from a cold.
It marks the first Christmas since Queen Elizabeth II died in September, and has proven to be a poignant occasion for the family and supporters of the Royals.
Kate gives an aide a tribute from a member of the public to the late Queen, a drawing of Paddington Bear accompanied by a bouquet of flowers
Lady Louise Windsor and her mother, the Countess of Wessex, attend today’s Christmas day service
The Waleses arrive at the Christmas Day church service at Sandringham earlier. Pictured left to right: Catherine, Princess of Wales; Princess Charlotte; Prince George; Prince William
Members of the royal family were greeted outside the church by the Reverend Canon Dr Paul Rhys Williams before they climbed the steps to the church and the National Anthem was sung before the first hymn, O Come, All Ye Faithful.
This year’s gathering at Sandringham is the first time the royal family have spent Christmas at the private royal residence in Norfolk since 2019.
The late Queen had spent the festive period at Windsor Castle for two years in a row, in 2020 and 2021, due to the Covid pandemic, before her death in September this year.
Traditionally, royal Christmases at Sandringham feature a turkey lunch at the house before the family settle down to watch TV, which this year included Charles’s first Christmas Broadcast as monarch.
Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank attend the Christmas Day service at St Mary Magdalene Church in Sandringham
The King appeared in good spirits as he spoke with the public at Sandringham this morning
Kate cut a stylish figure as she smiled at the crowds of royal fans who lined the path to the church
King Charles and Camilla, the Queen Consort, lead the group into the church
His Majesty, who was seen talking with Zara and Mike Tindall after the service, has taken control of affairs in his mother’s absence as the family gathered for Christmas dinner at Sandringham.
There was no place for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle though, with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex staying in the United States for Christmas after the release of their bombshell Netflix series.
One royal biographer has said the series might bring the Firm closer together, with Charles wanting to make his mark by emphasising ‘tolerance and family harmony’.
‘Charles has invited the Duchess of York for the first time since her divorce from Prince Andrew,’ Sally Bedell Smith said.
‘The Duke of Edinburgh had been the main obstacle to Fergie’s inclusion, and the Queen had arranged for Fergie to stay nearby Wood Farm so she could see her daughters Beatrice and Eugenie after the celebrations at Sandringham.’
Sophie, Countess of Wessex, and her daughter Lady Louise Windsor (left), joined other family members such as Prince Andrew (right) at the service
Prince Louis looks at the camera as the Royal Family enters the church in Sandringham estate in Norfolk
Prince William speaks to a member of the public outside the church on Sandringham Estate in Norfolk this morning (left). The Waleses pictured together leaving the service (right)
The Princess of Wales smiles as she holds the hand of her youngest son, Prince Louis, outside the church in Sandringham
Kate, Princess of Wales, looks on as Prince Louis leaves the church service at Sandringham Estate today
Prince Louis and Princess Charlotte leave the Christmas Day service at St Mary Magdalene Church in Sandringham
Prince William and his son Prince George accept a bouquet of flowers from a member of the public at Sandringham
In the afternoon millions of people in the UK tuned in to watch Charles deliver his first Christmas Day message to the nation.
In his Christmas address, His Majesty reflected on standing ‘so close to where my beloved mother the late Queen is laid to rest with my dear father’ in the King George VI Memorial Chapel.
He thanked the public for the ‘love and sympathy’ expressed in cards and messages of condolences and praised the ‘selfless dedication’ of the Armed Forces, health and social care professionals, teachers and all those who work in public service.
The pre-recorded message was filmed on December 13 and touched on ‘the great anxiety and hardship’ experienced by many trying ‘to pay their bills and keep their families fed and warm’.
The Prince and Princess of Wales and their children speak with members of the public on the path next to the St Mary Magdalene Church
Prince Louis pulls on his mother’s hand as the Royal Family goes on a walkabout after their Christmas Day church service
Kate, Princess of Wales, smiles as she speaks to a member of the public on the Sandringham Estate this morning
The Princess of Wales smiles as the Royal Family does a Christmas Day walkabout on the Sandringham Estate
Prince Louis looks on as his mother the Princess of Wales speaks with a member of the public at Sandringham
Prince George was seen guiding his younger brother Louis into the church before this morning’s service
Prince Louis smiles when looking back at the crowds which gathered to line the path to the church at Sandringham
Prince George (left) and Princess Charlotte (right) were both seen arriving at the church service
At the front of the queue to catch a glimpse of the royals was John Loughrey, of Streatham, south London, who said he arrived at 7pm on Christmas Eve and camped out overnight with his friend Sky London, 62.
Retired assistant chef Mr Loughrey said they took a train from London to King’s Lynn in Norfolk, then a bus to Sandringham where they are staying at a local hotel, around 15 minutes’ walk from St Mary Magdalene church.
The 67-year-old, who wore a Union Jack hat, gloves and hoody, said he slept in a tinfoil blanket to ensure a place at the front of the queue.
‘We were both shivering,’ he said. ‘I couldn’t sleep properly.’
Prince William smiles for the camera as he accompanies his family to the traditional Christmas Day church service
Prince Louis looks on as his mother the Princess of Wales speaks to a member of the public outside the church
Princess Beatrice smiles with her husband Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi and her stepson Christopher in Sandringham this morning
Zara and Mike Tindall hold hands with their daughter Lena as they arrive at the service
Lena Tindall, daughter of Zara and Mike Tindall, holds her parent’s hands as she arrives at the Christmas Day service (left). Her parents smile as they walk outside the church (right)
Peter Phillips was seen at the service with his two daughters (left), while Princess Beatrice also attended with her husband and stepson (right)
Savanah Phillips holds hands with her cousin Lena Tindall at the end of the Christmas Day service
He brought a bouquet of roses that he hoped to give the royals.
Mr Loughrey said: ‘We wanted to come here to show our appreciation to King Charles III and his Queen Consort and of course the Prince of Wales.
‘Because of losing the Queen, it’s a sad time for the family and I’m sure they will mention the Queen in the church today.
‘It will be in King Charles’s thoughts about his mother, about her legacy, they will be thinking about it over Christmas.
Camilla, Queen Consort, smiles as she walks outside the church this morning
King Charles III and Camilla, Queen Consort, leave the Christmas Day church service at Sandringham
Princess Beatrice cuts a stylish figure as she enters the church before this morning’s service
Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank pictured walking to the traditional Christmas Day church service
Prince Andrew, the disgraced Duke of York, also attended the service despite suggestions he would not be allowed
Prince Andrew speaks to Reverend Canon Dr Paul Rhys Williams outside the church after the end of the service
A member of the public shakes hands with Prince Andrew outside St Mary Magdalene Church in Sandringham
King Charles III and Camilla, the Queen Consort, shake hands with Reverend Canon Dr Paul Rhys Williams outside the church
‘It’s going to be a sad time and a happy time for them. That’s how it’s got to be.’
The King and Queen Consort will stay at Sandringham longer than they had in past – in previous years Camilla has left a few days after Christmas to see her family in Wiltshire.
This time however, they will stay slightly longer, but still not as long as the late Queen used to – she would always stay until after February 6, which is the anniversary of her succession.
Instead, the King and Queen will leave some time after the new year to go to Birkhall in Scotland, where Charles has always spent weeks during the festive period.
King Charles III was spotted with Zara and Mike Tindall after the traditional Christmas Day church service at Sandringham this morning
Members of the public wait for the arrival of the Royal Family outside St Mary Magdalene Church in Sandringham this morning
Members of the public wait with their dog to catch a glimpse of the Royal Family at Sandringham in Norfolk this morning
Royal fan John Loughrey (left) and his friend Sky London (right) sit at the front of the queue at Sandringham Estate on Christmas morning
Royal superfan John Loughrey wears a hat covered with buttons and badges of the Royal Family outside Sandringham this morning
Dogs in Christmas outfits sit as their owner and other royal fans gather outside Sandringham Estate to pass on their well wishes to the Royal Family this morning
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Published by Associated Newspapers Ltd
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