Kate Middleton to Host Second Annual Royal Christmas Concert — with Tribute to Queen Elizabeth

Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge attends the "Together at Christmas" community carol service on December 08, 2021 in London, England.
Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge attends the "Together at Christmas" community carol service on December 08, 2021 in London, England.

Samir Hussein/WireImage

Kate Middleton is officially starting a new Christmas tradition!

On Friday, Buckingham Palace announced that the Princess of Wales, 40, will host a holiday carol concert at Westminster Abbey for the second year in a row. The festive event is set to take place on Dec. 15, bringing together members of the royal family with charity staff, community volunteers, frontline workers, military personnel and more to "celebrate the joy that human connection can bring."

In a touching tribute, this year's Christmas concert will also honor the late Queen Elizabeth II, who died in September at age 96. The service will showcase the values she upheld through her remarkable life and reign, like empathy, compassion, and support for others.

"These principles are shared and personified by the inspirational guests who have been invited to the Abbey from across the U.K. in recognition of their tireless efforts to help and care for those around them," the palace said.

LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 08: Previously unissued photo dated 08/12/21 Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge and Sophie, Countess of Wessex take part in 'Royal Carols - Together At Christmas', a Christmas carol concert hosted by the duchess at Westminster Abbey in London, which will be broadcast on Christmas Eve on ITV. on December 8, 2021 in London, England.
LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 08: Previously unissued photo dated 08/12/21 Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge and Sophie, Countess of Wessex take part in 'Royal Carols - Together At Christmas', a Christmas carol concert hosted by the duchess at Westminster Abbey in London, which will be broadcast on Christmas Eve on ITV. on December 8, 2021 in London, England.

Yui Mok - WPA Pool/Getty

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Organized by Princess Kate with the support of the Royal Foundation, the event will weave together both traditional and modern themes, welcoming people of all faiths and none. The ancient abbey will be decorated in the holiday spirit, further warmed by music from the Abbey Choir plus other performances and poignant readings.

The concert will be filmed, and fans can tune into the magic when the special airs on ITV on Christmas Eve.

The Princess of Wales hosted her first Christmas concert at Westminster Abbey last year, spearheading Royal Carols: Together At Christmas to pay tribute to the incredible work of individuals and organizations across the U.K. who supported their communities through the coronavirus pandemic.

kate middleton and prince william
kate middleton and prince william

Chris Jackson/Getty Kate Middleton and Prince William

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The Abbey Choir similarly sang at the show, which also saw performances from Ellie Goulding, Scottish singer Tom Walker, and Leona Lewis. Prince William also delivered a reading from Luke 2:1-7 during the service.

In a special surprise, Kate gave her first public performance on the piano during a duet with Walker on the song "For Those Who Can't Be Here."

"Without doubt, it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience," the 30-year-old artist said of their duet. "I thought she absolutely smashed the performance; it's not easy to just jump behind a piano with a bunch of musicians you've never played with before and record live takes to camera, but she completely nailed it."

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"She's such a lovely, kind and warm-hearted person and she took the time to thank everyone personally for the opportunity to play together. It was a crazy pinch-yourself kind of day for me, to be in such a beautiful venue playing alongside the Duchess with my band and a string quartet. I certainly won't forget that in a hurry!"

According to a royal source, the idea for the performance came from the senior royal herself. Princess Kate played piano as a child, and took "great comfort" in playing music throughout the pandemic. At a Forward Trust event last October, she met Walker and heard him perform "Leave a Light On," his song about the struggles of those experiencing addiction.

She asked him to play at the carol service because his holiday song "For Those Who Can't Be Here" had "such pertinence for so many this year." It also "struck a chord" with Kate, who suggested she accompany the hitmaker.

"Music was very important to the Duchess during the lockdowns," the royal source said. "She also recognizes the powerful way in which music brings people together — especially during difficult times. For these reasons, she was keen to be part of Tom's performance in this way."