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Kissmas Kate to party with Royals; WILL'S GIRL TO PULL CRACKERS WITH HIS MUM.

Byline: By ROB McKAY

PRINCE WILLIAM'S girlfriend Kate Middleton is to celebrate Christmas Day with the Royals for the first time. She will join the party at Sandringham and stay overnight before taking part in the traditional Boxing Day pheasant shoot with the Queen, Prince Philip and Prince Charles.

William will then drive from the Norfolk estate to Berkshire to visit 23-year-old Kate's parents, Michael and Carole, at their home.

But there will be no Sandringham stay for Prince Harry's girlfriend Chelsy Davy, 20.

Harry is expected to jet out for a break in the sun with his South African sweetheart soon after Christmas Day before returning to the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst for his final term on January 9. William will start his army career a day earlier.

Yesterday, author Ingrid Seward, who wrote the biography William And Harry, said Kate's invitation was very significant.

She said: "I think she and William are in a serious relationship but nobody's rushing to marriage. I believe courtiers are a bit more worried about Harry, though.

"He is madly, madly in love and he may rush in and do something a bit rash."

Ms Seward said Kate, who will be the first Royal girlfriend to spend Christmas with the Royals since Prince Edward introduced Sophie, faces "an ordeal".

She said: "The Royals share lots of in-jokes nobody else understands and talk about people nobody else knows. Then there is Prince Edward,who always runs some ghastly disco.

"I remember the Duchess of York, Sarah Ferguson, when she was dating Prince Andrew. She tripped over the corgis and found the whole thing terrifying."

Although Chelsy will not be there at Christmas Prince Charles has warmed to her. She was invited to stay at Highgrove, Gloucestershire, for the first time, last weekend The pair, who first started dating 18 months ago, hadn't seen each other since they took a holiday in Botswana in September.

But it is Kate who has been most accepted by the Queen. In the summer she was invited to have dinner with the monarch and the Duke of Edinburgh for the first time.

The date at Balmoral Castle was also the first time Kate had been invited inside the Deeside castle - though she and William have stayed many times at Tam-na-Ghar, the prince's hideaway cottage, since they started dating in 2001.

A Clarence House spokesman said: "The boys will be spending Christmas at Sandringham but we will not comment on whom may be joining them over the period or what private arrangements they may have."

Ms Seward added: "Only very serious Royal girlfriends are invited to Sandringham.

"It is a sign you are entering the inner circle and Kate going this year is certainly an official acceptance of her position, importance and role in William's life

CAPTION(S):

Wrap up; Kate out Christmas shopping with mum Carole; Loved up: Kate and; Prince William
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Publication:Sunday Mail (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Nov 27, 2005
Words:483
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