A bittersweet season. Princess Kate paid tribute to Queen Elizabeth II with a special holiday message, revealing what the late monarch loved the most about Christmas.
“Her Majesty leaves with us an incredible legacy and one that has deeply inspired many of us,” the Princess of Wales, 40, said in a video uploaded to her and Prince William‘s joint Instagram account on Thursday, December 22, promoting her Royal Carols: Together At Christmas broadcast.
Kate hosted her second annual carol concert at Westminster Abbey on December 15, which was taped to air in the U.K. on Christmas Eve. “This year we’ve invited hundreds of inspiring individuals to the service,” she added. “Those who showcase the power of connectedness and community values, allowing us to continue to Her Majesty’s tradition of recognizing and thanking those who have gone above and beyond to support others.”
In the caption, the duchess gushed that she was “thrilled” to carry on the holiday tradition once again. “This year’s service is dedicated to Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and to all those who are sadly no longer with us,” the written message continued. “While Christmas will feel very different this year, we can still remember the memories and traditions we shared. Take time to slow down and celebrate with family and friends all the wonderful things that make Christmas so special.”
Another glimpse of the broadcast showed Kate remembering the queen’s favorite parts of the holiday season. “Her Majesty held Christmas close to her heart, as a time that brought people together and reminded us of the importance of faith, friendship and family, and to show empathy and compassion,” she recalled.
Elizabeth was the longest-serving British monarch before her death at age 96 in September. Shortly before she passed away, the royal matriarch celebrated her historic Platinum Jubilee marking 70 years on the throne.
King Charles III immediately assumed his rightful place as monarch in the wake of his mother’s death, with William, 40, now first in the line of succession. As Christmas Day approaches, the royals are still grieving their family’s big loss.
“It will be extremely sad not to have the queen there,” a source exclusively told Us Weekly of the family’s holiday celebrations. “[She] would not want them to mope or let that detract everyone from coming together and enjoying the occasion.”
Charles, 74, is set to deliver his first Christmas address as king, in which he will “undoubtedly pay tribute to the queen in his speech and privately within the family,” per the insider. “They’ll share fond memories, raise glasses and likely make speeches about the wonderful life and legacy she’s left behind.”
According to the source, “There’s a shared commitment among the whole family to stay true to [Elizabeth’s] values and carry on with the wonderful work she did during her time as monarch.”
Buckingham Palace confirmed earlier this month that the royals will gather at Sandringham Church for their annual Christmas Day service. The queen’s estate in Norfolk, England, has been the traditional host for the holidays for decades.
It’s unclear whether Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will join in on the festivities in the U.K. after stepping down from their senior royal duties in 2020. The Suits alum, 41, recently looked back on her first Christmas with her in-laws during the couple’s Netflix docuseries, Harry & Meghan.
“At dinner, I was sat next to H’s grandfather and I just thought it was so wonderful,” Meghan recalled in episode 3, referring to the late Prince Philip. “I was like, ‘Oh, we chatted and it was so great and I talked about this and talked about this.’ … [Harry] was like, ‘You had [his] bad ear. He couldn’t hear anything you were saying.’ I was like, ‘Oh, well, I thought it went really well.’”