William and Kate have broken royal protocol by turning down the Queen’s traditional celebrations at Sandringham in favour of a merry Middleton Christmas this year.
It may well smack of favouritism towards Kate’s family, but according to experts the decision was in fact made to put George and Charlotte’s needs first.
According to experts, a relaxed family Christmas at the Middletons will be much more suitable for the youngsters than the strict formality of Sandringham.
‘The decision has been made out of a desire to put Charlotte and George first,’ parenting expert Lisa Clegg told MailOnline.
‘If William and Kate can take a step back from Official Royal duties at certain times, in order to keep life as simple and normal as possible for George and Charlotte then that’s absolutely the right decision.’
Christmas at Sandringham is run like a military operation with everything from guests’ arrival time to when they eat breakfast, walk the dogs, sit down to lunch and retire to bed strictly timetabled. Even lunch on Christmas Day is pencilled in for just 50 minutes.
Meanwhile Pippa has described the Middleton Christmas as ‘blissfully calm’ and lots of fun, with father Michael even donning fancy dress such as a sumo wrestler suit to lived up proceedings.
Lisa who has recently released an e-book for Bepanthen, What the Parenting Manuals Don’t Tell You, said that this is a much better environment for young children rather than the strict protocol at Sandringham.
‘The children are still very young and so won’t understand the restraints that have to be practised within certain obligations of the Royal family and to sit down and be quiet in particular situations,’ she explained.
Carole and Michael Middleton will enjoy the company of their daughter, son-in-law and grandchildren on Christmas day
‘They are only little and need to be able to be children and get carried away with the excitement and fun of Christmas, without the world looking on them.
‘For this reasons, it’s beneficial for them to be in a more relaxed environment.’
Jo Wiltshire, a parenting expert for Childcare.co.uk agreed, saying: ‘William and Kate, in my mind, are doing the right thing by putting their children first at Christmas time.
‘A family gathering on Christmas Day cements family and social bonds. From the giving and receiving of presents, to sitting around the table together with loved ones.
Playful Prince George is too young to understand the restraints that have to be practiced during Christmas at Sandringham, according to parenting expert Lisa Clegg
‘These rituals are a physical and visual demonstration of loving relationships and I believe that it is right that royal protocol is put on hold for this one day of the year.’
Lisa Clegg added that it’s wise for the Cambridges to take the opportunity to enjoy Christmas on their own terms while they can.
‘William and Kate know that there will come a time when William has to take up his Royal duties of King and they won’t be able to have the privacy they are able to ask for now,’ she said.
Last year, the Middletons spent time in Norfolk with Kate and William and attended church with the royals, but this year the Cambridges will celebrate with them in Berkshire
‘So it’s great that he and Kate are allowing their children as much normality as possible now, while they still can.’
However, concedes that it must be difficult for William and Kate to manage family expectations.
‘It’s always difficult when extended families expect you to be attending certain social occasions over the Christmas period, and a touchy subject when you have to broach the idea of breaking the traditional expectation,’ she said.
The Queen attending church on Christmas Day 2015. This year her grandson William, his wife Kate and their children will be notably absent from the celebrations
‘But, if parents feel that the decision they’re making benefits them and their little ones, it’s worth making – I’d suggested broaching the subject as far in advance as possible, or suggesting alternatives that might be more appropriate.
‘I think it’s wonderful that the Queen is so supportive of William and Kate’s decision.
‘It shows a sign of the Royal family moving into the more modern times and being open to change where appropriate, which can only be a good thing.’
Jo Wiltshire added: ‘I admire Prince William’s stand on parenting. He clearly has a shared vision with Kate on how he wishes to bring up his children and this united approach makes for happy children.
They are both bold and brave enough to make the decisions that are right for their children and their family. I think it is a testament of William’s character to do the right thing and it should be applauded.’
William and Kate accompanied by Prince George, three, and 18-month-old Princess Charlotte, will enjoy a family get-together with all the trimmings at Michael and Carole’s £4.7million mansion in Bucklebury, Berkshire.
On Boxing Day, they will join Kate’s sister Pippa and her husband-to-be James Matthews, at the Yattendon Estate in Thatcham, near Newbury.