Kate Middleton Shines as Christmas Helper in New Photos as She Prepares Westminster Abbey for Carol Service – PEOPLE


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The Duchess of Cambridge praises the "amazing people" who've supported their communities and were invited to her Together at Christmas service, which will be broadcast on Christmas Eve

Kate Middleton is stepping into the role of Christmas helper — with plenty of holiday spirit.

In a new set of pictures taken at Westminster Abbey, Kate is seen helping trim a tree and prepare a wreath in the run up to her carol service earlier this month.

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Kate — in a festive sweater — visited the Abbey a day before the December 8 service to record a welcome message, which will introduce her Royal Carols: Together At Christmas show when it broadcasts in the U.K. on Christmas Eve.

In her introduction, Kate speaks about her desire to host the occasion to "say a huge thank you to all those amazing people out there who've supported their communities. We also wanted to recognize those whose struggles perhaps have been less visible, too."

Kate adds, "We've been through such a bleak time. 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 she places trust in how people have shown kindness and rallied their communities, adding, "I suppose through that separation we've also realized 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 Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge at Westminster Abbey

Kate Middleton at Westminster Abbey

| Credit: Kensington Palace

Kate is shown decorating the tree, which was donated by Queen Elizabeth from Windsor Great Park, and one of the wreaths from the Royal Horticultural Society. Abbey Marshall Leticia Cachoeira Edwards gave her a helping hand.

The Together At Christmas carol service — which was supported by The Royal Foundation — was attended by unsung heroes from across the U.K. in recognition of their inspirational efforts to protect and care for those around them. Among the congregation were people she and Prince William, both 39, met and spent time with during their recent public engagements and projects. There were also young carers, faith leaders and guests who may be more vulnerable or isolated within our society.

One of those who attended, Joan Black from Scotland, helped the elderly in the community during COVID-enforced lockdowns. "To bring everyone together like this is lovely," she told PEOPLE. "I felt she was really confident. We are doing well if that's our future Queen."

Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge at Westminster Abbey

Kate Middleton and Leticia Cachoeira Edwards prepare the tree

| Credit: Kensington Palace

Appearing in the TV broadcast will be performances by the world famous Westminster Abbey choir, and pop stars Leona Lewis, Ellie Goulding and Tom Walker, who sings his holiday song "For Those Who Can't Be Here." 

Prince William gave a reading, as did British Paralympian and junior doctor Kim Daybell, Harry Potter actor Tom Felton and presenter Kate Garraway, whose husband is still battling the awful effects of being badly struck with COVID. Poet and writer Lemn Sissay, who Kate worked with on her photographic project summing up life in the U.K. during the pandemic, wrote and read a poignant composition for the service called "To The Day."

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