By Julie Tremaine published
Ahead of “Together at Christmas,” the Christmas carol service at Westminster Abbey that will air in the U.K. on Christmas Eve, Kate Middleton is sending out a message of hope and support amid the ongoing pandemic.
"We wanted to say a huge thank you to all those amazing people out there who supported their communities," the Duchess of Cambridge said in a video on her and Prince William’s official Instagram account. "We also wanted to recognize those whose struggles perhaps have been less visible too."
"We've been through such a bleak time,” she said. “We've seen so many challenges. We've lost our loved ones. We've seen our frontline workers under immense pressure. And also we've been more emotionally and socially distanced and isolated from each other."
“But I suppose through that separation, we’ve also realised how much we need each other and how acts of kindness and love can really bring us comfort and relief in times of distress,” Kate continued. “In the congregation we’ve got many inspirational individuals. We owe them a huge debt of gratitude for all they’ve done in bringing people together and supporting their communities.”
Besides Royals and celebrities, the attendees comprised “unsung heroes from across the U.K. in recognition of their inspirational efforts to protect and care for those around them,” People said.
The service features performances by Ellie Goulding, Leona Lewis, and Tom Walker. Prince William gave a reading between songs, as did Harry Potter star Tom Felton. “Poet and writer Lemn Sissay, who Kate worked with on her photographic project summing up life in the U.K. during the pandemic,” People reported, “wrote and read a poignant composition for the service called ‘To the Day.’”
Besides Prince William, other members of the Royal family were in attendance at the concert. Zara and Mike Tindall, Princess Eugenie, Princess Beatrice and her husband Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi, and the Countess of Wessex were all there, according to the Evening Standard. Kate’s family showed their support, too. Her parents Carole and Michael Middleton were at the concert, as well as her sister Pippa Matthews and her brother James and sister-in-law Alizee Middleton.
Earlier this week, Kensington Palace released photos of the Duchess of Cambridge helping to prepare the church for the service, which was recorded on Dec. 8. Kate was seen helping to decorate the Christmas tree, which was donated by Queen Elizabeth, and a wreath from the Royal Horticultural Society. There was also a real reindeer in attendance, which the Cambridges stopped to greet. Kate even petted the animal.
"To bring everyone together like this is lovely," service attendee Joan Black told People. "I felt she was really confident. We are doing well if that's our future Queen."
Julie Tremaine is an award-winning food and travel writer who’s road tripping — and tasting — her way across the country. Her work appears in outlets like Vulture, Travel + Leisure, CNN Travel and Glamour, and she’s the Disneyland editor for SFGate. Read her work at Travel-Sip-Repeat.com.