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SARAH VINE: Forget the Fab Four… we’ve now got the Magnificent Seven! 

Barely a few months have passed since the Queen died, and already the tectonic plates of the Royal Family have shifted beyond measure.

King Charles seems to have slipped almost effortlessly into his new role, and the Queen Consort’s natural warmth and humour — legendary among her close friends but perhaps not always glimpsed in public — have really come to the fore.

The Prince and Princess of Wales, too, have hit their stride, alongside their three children, Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis.

It can’t be easy for children so young to find themselves so frequently in the spotlight, and yet their parents seem to strike just the right balance between allowing the public access to them and protecting their privacy — and letting their very different personalities shine through.

SARAH VINE: King Charles seems to have slipped almost effortlessly into his new role, and the Queen Consort’s natural warmth and humour. Pictured: King Charles and the Queen Consort attending the Christmas Service at Sandringham 

SARAH VINE: We were fixated on the ‘Fab Four’, with the Duchess of Sussex bringing all the glamour, the then Duchess of Cambridge rather more Home Counties than Hollywood in comparison. Pictured: The Waleses and the Sussexes attending the Christmas Day service back in 2017

SARAH VINE: We were fixated on the ‘Fab Four’, with the Duchess of Sussex bringing all the glamour, the then Duchess of Cambridge rather more Home Counties than Hollywood in comparison. Pictured: The Waleses and the Sussexes attending the Christmas Day service back in 2017

Pictures of Louis in shorts made me laugh. Children that age can get obsessed with wearing certain things — I remember my daughter going through a phase where she insisted on nothing but shorts, come rain, wind, sun or snow. Perhaps young Louis is similarly stubborn.

The children — not just the Waleses, but other smaller royals, too, including Lena Tindall and Savannah Phillips — were very much front and centre this year. Such a contrast, too, from a few years ago, when all eyes were on Harry and Meghan, the new royal superstars.

Back then, we were fixated on the ‘Fab Four’, with the Duchess of Sussex bringing all the glamour, the then Duchess of Cambridge rather more Home Counties than Hollywood in comparison.

Not yesterday. The Princess of Wales looked absolutely stunning in an elegant olive-green coat, topped off with a rather rakish Philip Treacy trilby hat (all the rage at the moment) that made her look both chic and edgy.

Princes Charlotte, Camilla Queen Consort, Prince Louis, Prince George and King Charles attend the Christmas Day service at Sandringham today

Princes Charlotte, Camilla Queen Consort, Prince Louis, Prince George and King Charles attend the Christmas Day service at Sandringham today

SARAH VINE: The children — not just the Waleses, but other smaller royals, too, including Lena Tindall and Savannah Phillips — were very much front and centre this year. Pictured: The Waleses with their children

SARAH VINE: The children — not just the Waleses, but other smaller royals, too, including Lena Tindall and Savannah Phillips — were very much front and centre this year. Pictured: The Waleses with their children

Princess Eugine and Jack Brooksbank attend the Christmas Day service at Sandringham Church on Christmas Day

Princess Eugine and Jack Brooksbank attend the Christmas Day service at Sandringham Church on Christmas Day

SARAH VINE: The Prince and Princess of Wales, too, have hit their stride, alongside their three children, Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis

SARAH VINE: The Prince and Princess of Wales, too, have hit their stride, alongside their three children, Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis

Her style has evolved rapidly over the past few years, and this was one of her best looks yet: clean and simple, and the perfect expression of her new-found self-assurance.

Harry and Meghan were, of course, conspicuous by their absence, having spent the past few weeks lobbing lumps of dirt across the Atlantic in increasingly desperate attempts to win fans and shame the royals back home.

But it mattered not a jot that they weren’t there. In fact, if I’m honest, it was a relief not to see Harry’s scowling face and Meghan’s pained smile. And besides, who needs the Fab Four when you can have the Magnificent Seven: three united generations of royals who genuinely seem to enjoy their roles and appreciate the place they hold in the nation’s hearts?

The truth is that however difficult and traumatic the past few months may have been, the Royal Family seem happier and more close-knit than I can remember.

The Prince and Princess of Wales and their children speak with members of the public on the path next to the St Mary Magdalene Church

The Prince and Princess of Wales and their children speak with members of the public on the path next to the St Mary Magdalene Church

SARAH VINE: One can’t help wondering whether Harry, waking up in his cashmere-lined Montecito idyll, might not have felt a small pang of regret at seeing them all together at Sandringham. Pictured: The Sussexes attending the Christmas concert in 2017

SARAH VINE: One can’t help wondering whether Harry, waking up in his cashmere-lined Montecito idyll, might not have felt a small pang of regret at seeing them all together at Sandringham. Pictured: The Sussexes attending the Christmas concert in 2017

SARAH VINE: If the estranged Duke and Duchess of Sussex seem driven by bitterness and resentment, unable to forgive or forget and determined to cast themselves as victims even as they act as aggressors, then senior royals are clearly equally determined to turn the other cheek. Pictured: Harry and Meghan in their Netflix series

SARAH VINE: If the estranged Duke and Duchess of Sussex seem driven by bitterness and resentment, unable to forgive or forget and determined to cast themselves as victims even as they act as aggressors, then senior royals are clearly equally determined to turn the other cheek. Pictured: Harry and Meghan in their Netflix series

SARAH VINE: Pictures of Louis in shorts made me laugh. Children that age can get obsessed with wearing certain things — I remember my daughter going through a phase where she insisted on nothing but shorts, come rain, wind, sun or snow. Perhaps young Louis is similarly stubborn

SARAH VINE: Pictures of Louis in shorts made me laugh. Children that age can get obsessed with wearing certain things — I remember my daughter going through a phase where she insisted on nothing but shorts, come rain, wind, sun or snow. Perhaps young Louis is similarly stubborn

They have been steadfast in their patience, fortitude and general dignity in the face of the most appalling accusations.

Whereas some families in their situation might have torn each other apart, somehow events — not just Meghan and Harry, of course, but also losing our beloved Queen, the head of the family — have only brought them closer. This is a united front that looks entirely genuine.

One can’t help wondering whether Harry, waking up in his cashmere-lined Montecito idyll, might not have felt a small pang of regret at seeing them all together at Sandringham.

Part of him might have felt sad, too, that his own two children couldn’t be there, playing alongside their cousins.

Prince William, Prince of Wales and Catherine, Princess of Wales with Prince George of Wales, Princess Charlotte of Wales and Prince Louis of Wales attend the Christmas Day service at St Mary Magdalene Church

Prince William, Prince of Wales and Catherine, Princess of Wales with Prince George of Wales, Princess Charlotte of Wales and Prince Louis of Wales attend the Christmas Day service at St Mary Magdalene Church

SARAH VINE: The Princess of Wales looked absolutely stunning in an elegant olive-green coat, topped off with a rather rakish Philip Treacy trilby hat (all the rage at the moment) that made her look both chic and edgy

SARAH VINE: The Princess of Wales looked absolutely stunning in an elegant olive-green coat, topped off with a rather rakish Philip Treacy trilby hat (all the rage at the moment) that made her look both chic and edgy 

The King appeared in good spirits as he spoke with the public at Sandringham this morning

The King appeared in good spirits as he spoke with the public at Sandringham this morning

Mike Tindall and Zara Tindall with their daughter Lena Tindall attending the Christmas Day morning church service at St Mary Magdalene Church in Sandringham, Norfolk

Mike Tindall and Zara Tindall with their daughter Lena Tindall attending the Christmas Day morning church service at St Mary Magdalene Church in Sandringham, Norfolk

Where was the stifling protocol, this heartless obsession with hierarchy that Harry and Meghan never cease to complain about? King Charles strolled to church alongside Zara Tindall. Princess Beatrice’s little stepson Christopher Woolf (‘Wolfie’, whose mother is American architect Dara Huang and whose father is Beatrice’s husband, Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi) was there: a new addition to this blended Royal Family that also includes the Queen Consort’s children from her previous marriage, Tom Parker Bowles and Laura Lopes, and her grandchildren.

The whole atmosphere was one of genuine affection. Even bad uncle Andrew was allowed to come along, despite rumours he would be banned.

If the estranged Duke and Duchess of Sussex seem driven by bitterness and resentment, unable to forgive or forget and determined to cast themselves as victims even as they act as aggressors, then senior royals are clearly equally determined to turn the other cheek.

As King, it’s clear Charles intends to mark himself out as a man of humility, emotional depth and kindness: characteristics that were all underlined in his first Christmas address.

If only Prince Harry could take a leaf out of his father’s book, perhaps 2023 could be a happier year for them all.

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Read more at DailyMail.co.uk



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