Kate pays tribute to RAF families during speech at Christmas party

Danielle Stacey
·Royal Correspondent
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge arrive for the Christmas party (PA)
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge arrive for the Christmas party (PA)

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge arrived to a flurry of fake snow and a band playing festive songs as they hosted a Christmas party for the families of RAF personnel at Kensington Palace.

Kate and William welcomed partners and kids of deployed personnel from RAF Coningsby and RAF Marham serving in Cyprus.

The couple joined the children as they took part in activities, including learning how to make Christmas crackers and decorations.

Approximately 7,500 military personnel are currently serving overseas or away from home on exercises. A large portion of these have children who will have a parent away over the festive period.

William and Kate giggle as they’re covered in fake snow (Getty)
William and Kate giggle as they’re covered in fake snow (Getty)

There was also a photo booth and a post box so that guests could take pictures and send messages to their loved ones in Cyprus. And of course, there was a special visitor in the form of Father Christmas.

The Duchess gave a speech at the party, in which she told military families how much they are valued and recalled what it was like when William was deployed away from home when serving in the RAF.

She said: “As someone whose husband has served, I know how hard it feels when someone leaves home for the job they have trained for.

“But I can’t imagine how it feels when your loved ones are away on active service over Christmas or at special family moments.

“The absence of people we love must be especially hard at this time of year.”

Kate donned a festive outfit for the occasion – a £209 black cashmere cardigan by Scottish brand Brora and an old season Emilia Wickstead tartan midi skirt, with knee-high boots and her £1,500 Mappin & Webb ‘Empress’ earrings. Husband William opted for an open collar pale blue shirt and a navy jumper.

Tomorrow the Duke and Duchess will fly to RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus to meet with serving personnel, families living on the base and members of the local community. They will deliver presents and cards to them from their families from today’s Christmas party.

RAF Akrotiri is home of the Cyprus Operations Support Unit which provides joint support to British Forces Cyprus and operations in the region to protect the UK’s strategic interests.

The couple will then visit and officially open the Oasis centre, which is used by personnel as a recreation area when they are not on shift.

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