Prince William and Kate Middleton are set to bow out of Christmas lunch and the traditional Boxing Day shoot held at Sandringham so they can have a more low key celebration with the Middletons.

The couple are understood to be leaving Sandringham before the turkey is served so they can spend the afternoon with Kate’s family, before shooting with them on Boxing Day. While Prince Philip organises a traditional shoot on the royals’ Norfolk estate, Kate’s mother Carole has organised a rival shoot and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have opted for her event.

It means that Prince William and Kate will have to leave the 20,000 acre Sandringham estate before Christmas lunch so they can go to the Middleton’s £5m home in Berkshire. Instead of shooting with Prince Philip, they will be joining Kate’s younger sister Pippa and her fiancé James Matthews at the Yattendon Estate near Newbury, where they will be shooting partridge and pheasant in a shoot which will have cost Carole around £10,000.

Morning sickness

According to a royal insider, it was Prince William who didn’t fancy spending the day shooting at Sandringham, so Carole stepped in to find an alternative. While many couples struggle to keep both sides of the family happy at Christmas, Prince William and his wife have only missed official royal celebrations once before – in 2012, when the Duchess of Cambridge was pregnant with Prince George, and was suffering from a serious form of morning sickness, which left her unable to attend.

Prince Philip has already complained that he does not get to spend as much time as he would like with his grandchildren, so he is certain to be unhappy about the perceived snub. Prince George and Princess Charlotte often spend time with the Middletons when their parents are away, but tend not to be babysat by royals quite so much.