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Why King Charles Missed 'Beloved Daughter-in-Law' Kate Middleton's Christmas Concert

While the Princess of Wales was hosting her third annual carol concert, an important family member was missing

Chris Jackson - WPA Pool/Getty Images King Charles, Queen Camilla and Kate Middleton in 2022
Chris Jackson - WPA Pool/Getty Images King Charles, Queen Camilla and Kate Middleton in 2022

Kate Middleton was supported by family at her third annual Christmas carol concert, but a few important people were missing.

King Charles did not attend his daughter-in-law's holiday event, but there was a practical reason for his absence: the monarch, 75, was at an engagement at his Highgrove Estate in Gloucestershire, more than 100 miles away from the Christmas concert at Westminster Abbey in London.

The move may also have been strategic. Princess Kate is hosting the event, and the King may want to ensure that all eyes are on his daughter-in-law on her special day.

Queen Camilla was also absent from the holiday event.

Although King Charles attended the event last year with Queen Camilla, the couple did not attend the inaugural Christmas concert in 2021.

CHRIS JACKSON/POOL/AFP via Getty King Charles and Kate Middleton in 2021
CHRIS JACKSON/POOL/AFP via Getty King Charles and Kate Middleton in 2021

Princess Kate, 41, recently gave a nod to her bond with King Charles by wearing the Strathmore Rose Tiara for the first time in public since the 1930s. The stunning headpiece originally belonged to Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, with whom King Charles was extremely close.

Lauren Kiehna of The Court Jeweller tells PEOPLE, "Kate has always signaled that she'd like to emulate the Queen Mother's royal role and wearing her jewels is an important symbol of that continuity. It's fitting that Kate — likely with some assistance from King Charles — would choose to wear the tiara exactly a hundred years after the Queen Mother originally received it. The piece is an antique that wasn't fashionable for many decades, but many jewels once considered fussy or unstylish have now been embraced again."

While speaking at the state banquet speech during his state visit to Kenya in October with Queen Camilla, the monarch touched on how his son Prince William proposed to Kate in the country in 2010, affectionately calling her "my beloved daughter-in-law" in the address.

<p>YUI MOK/POOL/AFP via Getty</p> Kate Middleton wears the Strathmore Rose Tiara on Nov. 21, 2023

YUI MOK/POOL/AFP via Getty

Kate Middleton wears the Strathmore Rose Tiara on Nov. 21, 2023

And while Princess Kate always shows respect to the monarch, dipping into picture-perfect curtsies to greet him, the pair often show affection toward each other. They often say hello with a warm hug and kisses on the cheek — and Kate has even been spotted calling him "Grandpa."

This year, Princess Kate's Christmas concert is linked to her Shaping Us campaign, which focuses on her mission to support children during the early years of their lives. The palace said the event was organized to “thank all those who work to support babies, young children and families in our communities across the U.K. and a celebration of the golden opportunity that the birth of a new baby brings."

With the event centered around children's well-being, it was the perfect opportunity for all three of Princess Kate and Prince William's children to attend for the first time. While Prince George and Princess Charlotte supported their mom at the Christmas carol concert last year, this time marked Prince Louis' debut!

Before entering Westminster Abbey, George, 10, Charlotte, 8, and Louis, 5, mailed letters to other kids who might be struggling this year. According to royal reporter Rebecca English, each wrote their own cards.

<p>Chris Jackson/Getty</p> Prince William, Prince George, Kate Middleton, Prince Louis and Princess Charlotte at Christmas concert on Dec. 8, 2023

Chris Jackson/Getty

Prince William, Prince George, Kate Middleton, Prince Louis and Princess Charlotte at Christmas concert on Dec. 8, 2023

The event featured performances by Westminster Abbey's choir, Adam Lambert, Beverley Knight, Jacob Collier, Freya Ridings and James Bay as well as readings by Micheal Ward, Emma Willis, Roman Kemp and Jim Broadbent. Prince William is even supporting his wife's concert by giving a reading, as he did last year.

The event will be broadcast as part of Royal Carols: Together At Christmas, airing on ITV1 and ITV X on Christmas Eve. The television broadcast will feature additional content including an introduction from Princess Kate, films that highlight the importance of early childhood and celebrations of the contributions people in our communities are making to support the very youngest members of our society during those crucial early years.

<p>Chris Jackson/Getty</p> Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis attend Christmas concert on Dec. 8, 2023

Chris Jackson/Getty

Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis attend Christmas concert on Dec. 8, 2023

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