Kate Middleton was in festive spirits as she joined the Queen at Buckingham Palace for her majesty's annual Christmas lunch. With two-year-old Prince George in tow, the Duchess of Cambridge was accompanied by brother-in-law Prince Harry, 31.

Dressed in a white shirt with blue trim and navy cardigan, and showing off his curly blonde locks, Prince George was a bundle of excitement. Prince William was noticeably absent as he was attending the memorial service for John Pelly, the father of close friend Guy Pelly at St Michaels Church in Mere, Wiltshire.

While he was missing out on the family fun, he earlier revealed to the Big Issue magazine that he is looking forward to spending Christmas with his family and with two young children, the occasion holds even more meaning. The East Anglia Ambulance pilot revealed that Prince George couldn't be more excited. "George will be bouncing around like a rabbit," he revealed. "If I get any sleep on Christmas Eve it will be good."

The Queen's annual pre-Christmas lunch is a royal tradition intended for distant relations, who are not invited to join her at her Sandringham Estate in Norfolk on the day itself for the family Christmas.

Among the guests were Prince Charles and Camilla, who arrived for the family gathering together with the Duchess looking elegant in pearls as she waved to her royal supporters gathered outside the palace Mail Online reports.

Princess Eugenie and Zara Phillips made an entrance, driven to the palace by husband Mike Tindall. Prince Edward drove himself to the palace while Canadian Autumn Kelly, the wife of Princess Anne's son, Peter Phillips, was also spotted making her entrance at the dinner.

While the lunch marked the first in a series of festive gatherings for the royals led by the Queen, yesterday, 33-year-old Kate royal kicked off the festive season by spreading some cheer at the Anna Freud Centre Christmas party.