Kate Middleton, Prince William and their first born Prince George pose with the royal family members and the Middletons pose for the official portrait. (Credit: Jason Bell/Camera Press)
While the royal family are said to share a good relationship with the Middletons they are divided over their Christmas festivities Jason Bell/Camera Press

While Kate Middleton and Prince William are already skipping Christmas dinner with the Queen at Sandringham, it seems they will also miss Prince Philip's traditional Boxing Day grouse shoot.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will instead join the Middletons in a "cut-price" partridge and pheasant shoot arranged by Kate's mother, Carol, at the Yattendon Estate in Thatcham, near Newbury.

Kate's brother James, sister Pippa and her husband-to-be, James Matthews, will join the royal couple at the event, which is understood to cost at least £9,360.

A royal insider told the Sunday Express: "William did not want to shoot at Sandringham so Carole has negotiated a deal to shoot at the Yattendon Estate.

Special concessions have been made in light of Carole's royal connections. Pippa has also had a hand in organising it all as she will also be taking part with her husband to be." The group will be allowed to shoot up to 500 birds on the estate, which boasts "some of Berkshire's finest driven partridge and pheasant shooting".

The party will dine on sausage sandwiches for 'elevenses' and will resume shooting, stopping for lunch in the shooting lodge. The day's shoot will conclude at 4pm with drinks in the local pub, the Royal Oak, the Mail Online reports.

It's another snub for the Queen and Prince Phillip and also for Prince Charles, who has previously complained about not having the opportunity to spend quality time with his grandchildren, Prince George and Princess Charlotte.

The Middletons are apparently favoured for baby-sitting duty when Prince William and Kate are on official tours abroad and are seemingly afforded more time with their grandchildren than Prince Charles.

It's thought that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge prefer the Middletons casual Christmas compared with the more formal festivities at Sandringham which is said to be a strictly time-tabled affair, requiring multiple changes of clothing and a black-tie dinner.

In contrast, Christmas at the Middleton's £5m mansion in Berkshire has been described by Pippa as "magical" and often involves fancy dress. The informal celebration is understandably perhaps more suited to the young royals and their children.

It will be the second time the couple will have joined the Middleton's for Christmas Day since they married in 2011 and the first since their children, Prince George and Princess Charlotte, were born.

The royals who will be joining the Queen for the traditional gathering include Prince Harry, Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall, Princess Anne and Vice Admiral Timothy Laurence and Prince Edward with his wife, Sophie, the Countess of Wessex, and their children, Lady Louise and James, Viscount Severn.