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Baby George stays indoors as British royals celebrate Christmas

Britain's Prince William (left) and his wife Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, arrive for a traditional Christmas Day Church Service at Sandringham in eastern England, on Dec 25, 2013.  Prince William and his wife Catherine left their baby son Pr
Britain's Prince William (left) and his wife Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, arrive for a traditional Christmas Day Church Service at Sandringham in eastern England, on Dec 25, 2013.  Prince William and his wife Catherine left their baby son Prince George having a fun time indoors as the British royal family made their Christmas Day outing to church.  -- PHOTO: AFP
Britain's Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, (second, right) receives flowers following a traditional Christmas Day Church Service at Sandringham in eastern England, on Dec 25, 2013 . Prince William said it had been a good first Christmas morning with
Britain's Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, (second, right) receives flowers following a traditional Christmas Day Church Service at Sandringham in eastern England, on Dec 25, 2013 . Prince William said it had been a good first Christmas morning with the five-month-old, while Kate revealed he was more interested in wrapping paper than his presents.  -- PHOTO: AFP
Britain's Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, (second, right) speaks with children following a traditional Christmas Day Church Service at Sandringham in eastern England, on Dec 25, 2013. Prince William said it had been a good first Christmas morning wi
Britain's Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, (second, right) speaks with children following a traditional Christmas Day Church Service at Sandringham in eastern England, on Dec 25, 2013. Prince William said it had been a good first Christmas morning with the five-month-old, while Kate revealed he was more interested in wrapping paper than his presents.   -- PHOTO: AFP
Britain's Queen Elizabeth II (right) is pictured as she leaves following a traditional Christmas Day Church Service at Sandringham in eastern England, on Dec25, 2013. While most people in Britain open their presents on Christmas Day, the royals follo
Britain's Queen Elizabeth II (right) is pictured as she leaves following a traditional Christmas Day Church Service at Sandringham in eastern England, on Dec25, 2013. While most people in Britain open their presents on Christmas Day, the royals follow the German tradition and open theirs on Christmas Eve.  -- PHOTO: AFP
Britain's Prince William (centre, left) and his wife Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, arrive for a traditional Christmas Day Church Service at Sandringham in eastern England, on Dec 25, 2013.  Hile most people in Britain open their presents on C
Britain's Prince William (centre, left) and his wife Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, arrive for a traditional Christmas Day Church Service at Sandringham in eastern England, on Dec 25, 2013.  Hile most people in Britain open their presents on Christmas Day, the royals follow the German tradition and open theirs on Christmas Eve.  -- PHOTO: AFP
Britain's Prince William (left) and his wife Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, arrive for a traditional Christmas Day Church Service at Sandringham in eastern England, on December 25, 2013. Prince William and Catherine left their baby son Prince
Britain's Prince William (left) and his wife Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, arrive for a traditional Christmas Day Church Service at Sandringham in eastern England, on December 25, 2013. Prince William and Catherine left their baby son Prince George having a fun time indoors as the British royal family made their Christmas Day outing to church. -- PHOTO: AFP 

SANDRINGHAM, United Kingdom (AFP) - Prince William and his wife Catherine left their baby son Prince George having a fun time indoors as the British royal family made their Christmas Day outing to church.

William said it had been a good first Christmas morning with the five-month-old, while Kate revealed he was more interested in wrapping paper than his presents.

In her annual Christmas Day message to the Commonwealth, Queen Elizabeth II said George's arrival had brought "renewed happiness and hope" - while life for William and Kate would never be the same again.

As per tradition, the royals were spending their winter break at the monarch's private Sandringham residence in Norfolk, eastern England.

Their Christmas Day visit to St Mary Magdalene Church is a rare chance to see them all together up close and speak to them as they leave.

William and Kate strolled along hand in hand, with George staying indoors.

"We've had a good morning with George and I can't wait until next year when he's bigger," William told the crowd.

Cicely Howard, 75, from Great Yarmouth in Norfolk, asked Kate about the baby.

"She told me he was having a lovely day but was more interested in the wrapping paper than the presents," she said.

The baby prince, born on July 22, is third in the line of succession, directly in line to inherit the throne after 87-year-old Queen Elizabeth's eldest son Prince Charles, 65, and 31-year-old William, his eldest son.

In her Christmas broadcast, the sovereign sat by a photograph of the four of them, which was flanked by black-and-white portraits of her parents, king George VI and queen Elizabeth.

"My own family is a little larger this Christmas," the monarch said, in a pre-recorded speech from Buckingham Palace which focused on finding time for reflection.

"The arrival of a baby gives everyone the chance to contemplate the future with renewed happiness and hope. For the new parents, life will never be quite the same again.

"As with all who are christened, George was baptised into a joyful faith of Christian duty and service. After the christening, we gathered for the traditional photograph.

"It was a happy occasion, bringing together four generations."

While the family walked to the church on Wednesday, the Queen arrived by car accompanied by her heavily pregnant eldest grand-daughter, the former equestrian world champion Zara Phillips.

William's brother Prince Harry was still sporting the ginger beard he grew while successfully trekking to the South Pole earlier this month with disabled armed forces veterans from Britain, Australia, Canada and the United States.

He said he intended to keep the look as it was a "royal tradition".

Newspaper reports said it was the largest gathering of the family at Christmas in years, with all of the Queen's descendants and her late sister princess Margaret's descendants in attendance.

Reports said that as 30 royals were staying at Sandringham, some were having to sleep in the servants' quarters.

While most people in Britain open their presents on Christmas Day, the royals follow the German tradition and open theirs on Christmas Eve.