Sunshine and smiles ahead of the big day

25 APRIL 2011

A heady cocktail of bright April sunshine and a wedding just around the corner, meant that the members of the royal family were in high spirits at their traditional Easter weekend gathering.

Smart in hats and mini-dresses, Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie stood out in particular as the Queen and her relatives attended a service at St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle.


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As they will at next Friday's nuptials, the two Princesses accompanied their father Prince Andrew, who shared a laugh and a joke with them outside the church.

The Queen was in a sunny mood as well, having recently celebrated her 85th birthday. Courtiers says the monarch is delighted that everyone in her family now seems happily settled after the turmoil of previous generations.

Sophie, Countess of Wessex, escorted by husband Prince Edward, caught the eye with the towering plumed headdress, which accessorised her classic navy blue dress.


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Also attending were Princess Anne and her husband Vice-Admiral Timothy Laurence.

Notable absentees were Prince William, who now has three weeks off from RAF search and rescue duty, and fiancée Kate Middleton. The royal sweethearts spent Easter Sunday with her parents, Carole and Michael, in Bucklebury, Berks.

Over the next few days they will be in London to take part in final rehearsals at Westminster Abbey, having already run through the service at Clarence House.

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