**Updated with video** Royal bride-to-be Kate Middleton joined her fiance for a special pre-Christmas lunch with Queen Elizabeth and the extended Royal Family Thursday.
She and Prince William were driven the short hop from St. James’s Palace to Buckingham Palace for the annual event that takes place before the Queen heads off for her seasonal holiday.
The newly engaged couple rode in a car with some protection officers that traveled behind Prince Charles and Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall. Inside the palace, Kate, mingled with a daunting array of royals, as all of the Queen’s children were in attendance, along with most of her grandchildren. This is thought to be the first time she has had a lunch with the entire family at the palace.
Kate and William left about two and a half hours later – and this time, she was sandwiched between William and his brother Prince Harry in the back seat of an official SUV.
“It’s a momentous day for her,” royals author Judy Wade tells PEOPLE. “She must have met more than 40 members of the royal family and that must have been an ordeal for her to meet so many family members.”
“When she left, Kate was looking supremely happy. She was smiling broadly,” observers say. “She was beaming.”
Article: People Magazine | The Express
Pictures: Isopix: Royals arriving/leaving Buckingham Palace for the Queen’s pre-Christmas lunch
What Kate is Really like (by old friend Jessica Hay)
Kate’s roommate from Marlborough writes about the “real Kate”…
The future queen of England may have been known in the tabloids as “Waity Katie,” but for the people who know her, she’s best described as “Matey Katie,” for the simple reason that she is just that – a very good mate. I know that as she helped me many a time with my math homework, and she can do a great rendition of “I Will Always Love You” by Whitney Houston before bedtime.
With Catherine, what you see is what you get: She is her own person, speaks her mind, and is as beautiful inside as she is outside. She comes from a very normal and close family, so even though her world will completely change when she marries William, she has the kind of down-to-earth attitude that will carry her through with ease.
Wills and Catherine are polar opposites in terms of where they come from, but there is no mistaking their closeness. They are a normal couple. They laugh nonstop, and that is their secret. Catherine always says, “Why be serious when life is so short?”
Read more: Today Show (The Windsor Knot)