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Daily Mirror
Daily Mirror
Susie Beever

Kate pays touching tribute as Queen image emblazoned on piano for Christmas carol service

The royals have paid homage to the late Queen in a touching carol service which marks King Charles' first Christmas on the throne.

A stunning image of the late Elizabeth II was projected on the side of the grand piano during the Together At Christmas service at Westminster Abbey, which featured the likes of Craig David, Alfie Boe and Sporty Spice Mel C.

Princess of Wales Kate meanwhile also paid tribute to the Queen, in a speech which thanked her for her "incredible legacy" and efforts tin "bringing us together".

Kate, who spearheaded the service with support from The Royal Foundation, said she was “thrilled” to return to the abbey for a second year.

Kate, Princess of Wales during the 'Together at Christmas' Carol Service at Westminster Abbey in London (Yui Mok/AP/REX/Shutterstock)

Introducing the service, Princess Kate said: "This Christmas will be our first without Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth.

"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.

"This year, we've invited hundreds of inspiring individuals to the service.

An image of the late Queen Elizabeth II was projected onto a grand piano as the royal family joined 1,800 people for the Together At Christmas carol service at Westminster Abbey (ITV)

“Those who showcase the power of connectedness and community values, allowing us to continue Her Majesty’s tradition of recognising and thanking those who have gone above and beyond to support others.

“Her Majesty leaves with us an incredible legacy and one that has deeply inspired many of us.”

Screened on ITV and voiced over by Catherine Zeta-Jones, the service was filled with gestures in apparent and touching nods to the late royal, including a nearby Christmas tree decorated with miniature Paddington Bears as a hark back to her sketch with the cartoon character for her Platinum Jubilee in June.

King Charles III, Prince William, Prince of Wales, Camilla, Queen Consort and Catherine, Princess of Wales are seen during the 'Together at Christmas' Carol Service (Getty Images)

The Duke and Duchess were meanwhile joined by their children, George and Charlotte, the King and Queen Consort Camilla, as well as Zara and Mike Tindall, along with 1,800 guests.

The young Prince and Princess sang in full voice at their mother during the carol service.

The future king and his younger sister held candles as they joined the congregation.

The Prince of Wales, Prince George, Princess Charlotte and the Princess of Wales, during the 'Together at Christmas' Carol Service at Westminster Abbey in London (PA)

Kate was seen at one point with a comforting arm around Charlotte’s shoulder, while the Prince of Wales placed a guiding hand on his son George’s back.

Prince William and Dame Kristin Scott-Thomas also performed readings at the evening service, with the Prince reading an extract from his late-grandmother's 2012 Christmas message.

Reading from her 2012 speech, William said: "At Christmas I'm always struck by how the spirit of togetherness lies also at the heart of the Christmas story.

Kate, Princess of Wales, talks to Sophie, the Countess of Wessex during the 'Together at Christmas' Carol Service at Westminster Abbey (Yui Mok/AP/REX/Shutterstock)

"A young mother and a dutiful father with their baby were joined by poor shepherds and visitors from afar. They came with their gifts to worship the Christ Child.

"From that day on He has inspired people to commit themselves to the best interests of others. This is the time of year when we remember that God sent His only son to serve, not to be served."

The Prince of Wales, reading an extract from Queen Elizabeth II’s Christmas Message 2012, during the 'Together at Christmas' Carol Service at Westminster Abbey in London (PA)

Alexis Ffrench meanwhile played a stunning rendition of carol In The Bleak Midwinter on a piano emblazoned with an image of Elizabeth II, with the musician tweeting it had been an 'honour' to be featured.

This Christmas marks the first since the Queen's passing, with millions expected to tune in at 3pm on Sunday for Charles' first speech as King.

Prince George and Princess Charlotte are seen during the 'Together at Christmas' Carol Service at Westminster Abbey (Getty Images)

In her tribute, Kate added: "So, whilst 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."

The Princess wore a smart burgundy-coloured coat dress, sweetly mirrored by daughter Princess Charlotte in a similar shade.

King Charles III and the Queen Consort during the 'Together at Christmas' Carol Service at Westminster Abbey in London (PA)

Also featuring at the service were messages from Dame Judi Dench, actor Martin Kemp and Britain's Got Talent star Ashley Banjo.

Guests at the service were greeted with atmospheric snowflakes from a snow machine as they arrived at the entrance.

The service and took place on December 15, just hours after the final part of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s controversial documentary dropped on Netflix.

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