Kate Middleton delights fans with surprise piano performance with Tom Walker #dailymail β€οΈπŸ’Ÿβ€οΈ

The Duchess of Cambridge gave millions of Britons a Christmas treat on TV tonight as she played the piano to accompany singer Tom Walker with a poignant song performed by candlelight at Westminster Abbey.

Kate, who has tickled the ivories since she was a child, recorded the song with Walker in the Chapter House of the Abbey, one day before a community carol service on December 8 which was shown on ITV this evening.

They played his Christmas single ‘For Those Who Can’t Be Here’ together, after the Duchess had the idea for the performance following a meeting with Walker when she heard him play at a charity function in October.

At that event for The Forward Trust, a London-based charity that helps people with drug and alcohol dependence, Walker played ‘Leave a Light On’ – a song about the struggles of those experiencing addiction.

And the 30-year-old singer was then approached to play for the carol service, with Kate, 39, having come up with the idea of accompanying him on the piano after music brought ‘great comfort’ to her during the lockdowns.

Kate plays the grand piano while Tom Walker sings his emotional Christmas single For Those Who Can’t Be Here, which aired on ITV on Christmas Eve

Walker praised Kate (pictured playing the piano during Friday's aired ITV performance) for being an 'amazing musician' and said that although she was quite nervous when they first rehearsed in a studio, she went away and 'invested a lot of time and energy into getting it right'

Walker praised Kate (pictured playing the piano during Friday’s aired ITV performance) for being an ‘amazing musician’ and said that although she was quite nervous when they first rehearsed in a studio, she went away and ‘invested a lot of time and energy into getting it right’

Kate (seen far left) and Tom Walker (centre) gave an emotional performance by candlelight at Westminster Abbey

Kate (seen far left) and Tom Walker (centre) gave an emotional performance by candlelight at Westminster Abbey

Walker gave the Duchess a backing track to practise with before the performance and said he was 'shocked at how much better she was' when it came to the actual show, which left him 'really impressed.'

Walker gave the Duchess a backing track to practise with before the performance and said he was ‘shocked at how much better she was’ when it came to the actual show, which left him ‘really impressed.’

The song was written by Walker for ‘anyone raising a glass around the table remembering those who can’t be with us’ this festive season – as hundreds of thousands of people are set to spend Christmas Day in self-isolation with Covid-19, while others think of members of their family and friends they have lost to the virus or other causes.

Walker described the Duchess as a ‘lovely, kind and warm hearted person’ and praised her for having ‘absolutely smashed’ the performance, adding that it was a ‘crazy pinch yourself kind of day’ for him.

He also praised Kate for being an ‘amazing musician’ and said that although she was quite nervous when they first rehearsed in a studio, she went away and ‘invested a lot of time and energy into getting it right’.

Walker gave the Duchess a backing track to practise with before the performance and said he was ‘shocked at how much better she was’ when it came to the actual show, which left him ‘really impressed.’

Explaining that his mother had a ‘total freak out’, he said: ‘It was truly an honour playing alongside The Duchess for Royal Carols: Together At Christmas. Without doubt, it was a once in a lifetime experience.

‘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.

‘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.

Prince William also spoke during the service, taking to the lectern to read a verse from Luke 2: 1-7, from the Bible (pictured)

Prince William also spoke during the service, taking to the lectern to read a verse from Luke 2: 1-7, from the Bible (pictured)

William and Kate donned black face masks as they entered Westminster Abbey, with Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie spotted sitting in the row behind them, next to Kate's sister Pippa

William and Kate donned black face masks as they entered Westminster Abbey, with Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie spotted sitting in the row behind them, next to Kate’s sister Pippa

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were seen talking to clergymen and attendees of the event, which was recorded on December 8

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were seen talking to clergymen and attendees of the event, which was recorded on December 8

Will and Kate greet the 'special guests' who were all invited to the service for having supported their communities during the pandemic

Will and Kate greet the ‘special guests’ who were all invited to the service for having supported their communities during the pandemic

Leona Lewis gave a stunning performance of O Holy Night, while donning a stunning sparkling dark green gown

Leona Lewis gave a stunning performance of O Holy Night, while donning a stunning sparkling dark green gown

Ellie Goulding also performed during the service, donning a satin full length dress complete with sheer long sleeves and heavy silver embellishing that scattered outwards from her waist. The British star sang Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas

Ellie Goulding also performed during the service, donning a satin full length dress complete with sheer long sleeves and heavy silver embellishing that scattered outwards from her waist. The British star sang Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas

Harry Potter star Tom Felton read the poignant poem A Letter From A Soldier To His Sister, from The Christmas Truce, by Aaron Shepherd (pictured)

Harry Potter star Tom Felton read the poignant poem A Letter From A Soldier To His Sister, from The Christmas Truce, by Aaron Shepherd (pictured)

Tom Felton, who played Draco Malfoy in the Potter film franchise, wore a dark coloured suit and white shirt as he read the heartfelt poem amid service men and women

Tom Felton, who played Draco Malfoy in the Potter film franchise, wore a dark coloured suit and white shirt as he read the heartfelt poem amid service men and women

Kate Garraway gave a reading during the service, amid her husband Derek's well publicised and ongoing battle with long Covid. The journalist and TV presenter read Love Came Down At Christmas, by Christina Rossetti

Kate Garraway gave a reading during the service, amid her husband Derek’s well publicised and ongoing battle with long Covid. The journalist and TV presenter read Love Came Down At Christmas, by Christina Rossetti

Kate and William arrive to the iconic Westminster Abbey for the extra special carol service

Kate and William arrive to the iconic Westminster Abbey for the extra special carol service

A group of carol singers gathered outside the Abbey as the guests entered

A group of carol singers gathered outside the Abbey as the guests entered

Carol singing children and teens don woolly hats and scarves as they welcomed guests to Westminster Abbey

Carol singing children and teens don woolly hats and scarves as they welcomed guests to Westminster Abbey

The dozens of attendees were seen singing along to classic Christmas carols, pictured here lighting up their hymn sheets

The dozens of attendees were seen singing along to classic Christmas carols, pictured here lighting up their hymn sheets

The jaw-dropping Westminster Abbey, first established in the year 960, created a stunning backdrop for the service

The jaw-dropping Westminster Abbey, first established in the year 960, created a stunning backdrop for the service

The service opened with a choirboy singing Once In Royal David's City (pictured)

The service opened with a choirboy singing Once In Royal David’s City (pictured)

A group of choirboys joined in the opening hymn of Once In Royal David's City, donning traditional red and white robes

A group of choirboys joined in the opening hymn of Once In Royal David’s City, donning traditional red and white robes

The scene was set at Westminster Abbey, with a traditional nativity scene and Christmas trees (pictured)

The scene was set at Westminster Abbey, with a traditional nativity scene and Christmas trees (pictured)

Kate's performance formed part of the Royal Carols: Together At Christmas event which was held by Kate as a thank you to the people who have supported their communities during the pandemic

Kate’s performance formed part of the Royal Carols: Together At Christmas event which was held by Kate as a thank you to the people who have supported their communities during the pandemic

Prince William and Kate smile at each other at 'Royal Carols: Together At Christmas' at Westminster Abbey on December 8

Prince William and Kate smile at each other at ‘Royal Carols: Together At Christmas’ at Westminster Abbey on December 8

Tom Walker performs his Christmas single 'For Those Who Can't Be Here' at the 'Royal Carols: Together At Christmas' service

Tom Walker performs his Christmas single ‘For Those Who Can’t Be Here’ at the ‘Royal Carols: Together At Christmas’ service

Tom Walker

Tom Walker

Tom Walker plays his song ‘For Those Who Can’t Be Here’ (left) and lights a candle (right) at the carol service on December 8

‘For Those Who Can’t Be Here’ by Tom Walker

We put the lights up on the tree

And all the presents underneath

Light the fire it’s getting cold

Another year of will it snow

Mixing lager and champagne

Something I’ll never do again

Round the table banter flows

Praying no one rocks the boat

Still I know this picture’s not quite right

There’s someone on your mind

First Christmastime without him by your side, I know

The sound of Christmas bells

They never say farewell

So we laugh, we shed a tear

For those who can’t be here

We’re drinking sherry just because

Confessing all our Christmas love

Watch Home Alone for the thousandth time

It’s the only movie that we all like

But I know this picture’s not quite right

There’s someone on my mind

First Christmastime without him by our side, I know

He loved these Christmas bells

Because they never say farewell

So we laugh, we shed a tear

For those who can’t be here

For those who can’t be here

For those who can’t be here

(The bells ring out for them, for those who can’t be here)

(The bells ring out for them, for those who can’t be here)

(The bells ring out for them, for those who can’t be here)

(The bells ring out for them, for those who can’t be here)

‘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. My mum had a total freak out when she saw it on the telly.

‘I know this song will resonate with a lot of people this Christmas and my heart goes out to anyone raising a glass around the table remembering those who can’t be with us.’

The performance formed part of the Royal Carols: Together At Christmas event which was held by Kate as a thank you to the people who have supported their communities during the pandemic.

A royal source said: ‘The idea for the performance was the Duchess’. She was impressed by Tom when she met him and heard him play Leave a Light On – a song about the struggles of those experiencing addiction, an issue which as you know, she is passionate about – at a Forward Trust event in October.

‘He was approached to play at the service, and his Christmas song, For Those Who Can’t Be Here, which has such pertinence for so many this year, also struck a chord with the Duchess who came up with the idea of accompanying Tom on the piano.

‘She has played the piano since she was a child.

‘Music was very important to the Duchess during the lockdowns and playing the piano brought great comfort to her.

‘She also recognises 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.’

The Duchess is set to spend the festive weekend with her husband Prince William and children Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis at their Norfolk residence of Anmer Hall.

Walker spoke to MailOnline earlier today, saying that he had just returning home to his family for Christmas with his fiancΓ©e Annie Watson-Foulds, with whom he has been quarantining with for nine days because she contracted Covid-19.

He said he tested himself daily and did not catch the virus from her, and after she had her second negative test in consecutive days yesterday, it meant they could travel in time to be with family on Christmas Day – and Walker admitted: ‘I’m so happy to be home with my family.’

Asked how the performance with Kate came about, he said: ‘I’ve met the Duchess a couple of times at various different charity events and the last one we did together was for Action on Addiction, and she gave a speech at that particular one and I sang my song Leave A Light On and performed it live.

‘Afterwards she got in touch with me and my team and said would you mind performing this live at the carol service? And I said absolutely no problem, but I’ve actually written a Christmas song this year that nobody’s heard yet, I’ll send it over, why don’t you listen to that because it might be more suitable for the service?

‘Anyway, she heard the song and absolutely loved it and asked if I could come down and perform that. And then about a week later, her team got in touch and said she was really keen to play the piano on the song.

‘I didn’t even know she played piano. I was a bit like this is crazy, but absolutely, that would be wicked. We arranged a rehearsal together. It was very secret, very secret – even the studio didn’t know what was going on.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge talk to Tom Walker, Ellie Goulding and Leona Lewis at the service on December 8

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge talk to Tom Walker, Ellie Goulding and Leona Lewis at the service on December 8

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge take part in 'Royal Carols: Together At Christmas' at Westminster Abbey on December 8

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge take part in ‘Royal Carols: Together At Christmas’ at Westminster Abbey on December 8

William and Kate meet Tony Hudgell, seven, who suffered life changing injuries in 2014 when he was 41 days old following horrific abuse from his parents, Jody Simpson and Tony Smith. The pair were found guilty of child cruelty in 2018 and are both now serving a ten-year prison sentence. In 2017, Tony had both legs amputated due to the injuries he sustained as an infant

William and Kate meet Tony Hudgell, seven, who suffered life changing injuries in 2014 when he was 41 days old following horrific abuse from his parents, Jody Simpson and Tony Smith. The pair were found guilty of child cruelty in 2018 and are both now serving a ten-year prison sentence. In 2017, Tony had both legs amputated due to the injuries he sustained as an infant

The Duke of Cambridge speaks to Kate Garraway before the carol service at Westminster Abbey on December 8

The Duke of Cambridge speaks to Kate Garraway before the carol service at Westminster Abbey on December 8

Kate decorating a Christmas tree

Kate decorating a Christmas tree

Kensington Palace released these photographs of Kate decorating a Christmas tree at Westminster Abbey earlier this month

The Duchess of Cambridge smiles while decorating a Christmas tree at Westminster Abbey in London earlier this month

The Duchess of Cambridge smiles while decorating a Christmas tree at Westminster Abbey in London earlier this month

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and the Countess of Wessex taking part in the Westminster Abbey service

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and the Countess of Wessex taking part in the Westminster Abbey service

(Front, from left) The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, the Countess of Wessex, and Zara and Mike Tindall at the service. Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie stand behind William and Kate, while Pippa Matthews and James Middleton can also be seen

(Front, from left) The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, the Countess of Wessex, and Zara and Mike Tindall at the service. Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie stand behind William and Kate, while Pippa Matthews and James Middleton can also be seen

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge smile as they take part in the Christmas carol service at Westminster Abbey in London

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge smile as they take part in the Christmas carol service at Westminster Abbey in London

The Duchess of Cambridge smiles in a trailer video for the 'Royal Carols: Together At Christmas' service shown on ITV

The Duchess of Cambridge smiles in a trailer video for the ‘Royal Carols: Together At Christmas’ service shown on ITV

Sophie, Countess of Wessex, with Zara and Mike Tindall taking part in 'Royal Carols: Together At Christmas' in London

Sophie, Countess of Wessex, with Zara and Mike Tindall taking part in ‘Royal Carols: Together At Christmas’ in London

Princess Beatrice and Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi at Westminster Abbey in London for the Christmas service on December 8

Princess Beatrice and Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi at Westminster Abbey in London for the Christmas service on December 8

‘We were sitting on opposite sides of the room for Covid, rehearsing. We rehearsed the song like nine times and by the end of it she’d absolutely nailed it, and then she went away for a couple of days and practised it, and then we finally got to do the recording of it.

Heartbreaking ordeal of boy who charmed Kate and William at carol service: Tony Hudgell, 7, lost his legs after being abused by his birth parents – who escaped jail until his adoptive family fought for justice

A young amputee charmed Kate Middleton and Prince William as they made time during their festive carol concert earlier this month to ‘spend ages’ chatting with Tony Hudgell, 7, and his mother.

Tony was rushed to hospital with life changing injuries in 2014 when he was 41-days-old, following horrific abuse from his parents, Jody Simpson and Tony Smith. The pair were found guilty of child cruelty in 2018 and are both currently serving a ten-year prison sentence.

In 2017, Tony had both legs amputated due to the injuries he sustained as an infant, and he’s currently learning to walk on prosthetic legs without crutches.

Tony Hudgell, aged seven, meets the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge at the Westminster Abbey concert on December 8

Tony Hudgell, aged seven, meets the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge at the Westminster Abbey concert on December 8

After his incredibly difficult start in life, Tony was adopted by Paula and Mark Hudgell of West Malling, Kent, who have successfully campaigned for longer sentences for anyone who seriously harms a child, and are now calling for a register of abusers in the wake of the murder of Arthur Labinjo-Hughes.

His proud parents were by his side as the youngster met Kate and William at the service, and later tweeted: ‘Tony has no idea of the impact or enormity he holds. The Duke & Duchess of Cambridge were truly incredible with him. They chatted to us both for ages. A truly magical evening.’

Tony's legs were broken in eight different places due to the cruel abuse he suffered at the ends of his parents as an infant

Tony’s legs were broken in eight different places due to the cruel abuse he suffered at the ends of his parents as an infant

A sweet image shows William and Kate crouching down to Tony’s eye level to chat to the youngster while his proud mother Paula looked on.

The invite to the concert came after Kate was impressed by Tony’s charity efforts in 2020, when he raised more than Β£1.5 million for Evelina London Children’s Hospital, of which she is an official patron.

‘And I was really impressed because it’s one thing playing along with me in a studio, just the two of us, but then to jump straight in to playing with a live string quartet and a pianist and two backing singers, all of which she’d never met before, and then doing live takes in front of the camera – that’s a whole other jump from jamming.

‘She absolutely nailed it and I was so surprised at how great she was at keeping time, because she had to start the song off and lead it. Amazing musician and what an amazing day, it was crazy.’

Walker added that when he has been at events with Kate before it had been at a ‘charity event that the royals are backing, so I’m kind of in their space and their domain’.

But he continued: ‘With the music side of it, we’re kind of on even terms here because you’ve never played with other musicians for the last ten years, and then jumping straight into this. And then obviously I’m doing the carol service.

‘So I think we were both really nervous that it wasn’t going to go quite to plan and one of us would let down the other person or whatever, but she was absolutely fabulous – she smashed it.

‘What a talented, kind, warm-hearted, lovely person. She’s very chilled, very nice and she was so kind to everybody who was there – personally introduced herself to the whole band. It was just lovely. A big moment for me in my career.’

Asked about the song, Walker explained: ‘Well very sadly in the first pandemic we lost my grandfather. It was really tough, because we couldn’t get up to see him, we couldn’t be by his side, we didn’t get to say goodbye.

‘It was tough for the whole family but it was especially tough for my mum because it was her dad. And the whole basis of the song is every year around the table my grandmother will raise a glass and say ‘this is for those who can’t be here this year, let’s take a little moment to remember them’.

‘And I was just thinking about how that moment was going to be for my mum for the very first time around the dinner table at Christmas without her dad, because he came every year for Christmas without fail. So that’s what the whole song’s about.’

He was also asked about whether Kate had spoken about Prince Philip, given the Queen is spending her first Christmas as a widow after her beloved husband died aged 99 in April.

Walker said: ‘The Duchess didn’t specifically say. She said she loved the lyrics – but she didn’t lead onto it being about that, but I think just everybody has lost somebody in their lives at some point and Christmas is the time to remember people who aren’t around who you used to have really fond memories of and still do, but you can’t reminisce with them in person. So I think that’s why she connected with the lyrics.’

Speaking about what Kate was like to be around, he continued: ‘She was just so nice. I think the first rehearsal we did she was quite nervous because she hadn’t played with another musician in a very long time and she’s got a piano at home but the one that we’d rented in for the day was going to be the same one we were using for the actual service.

‘It was completely different to hers, so she was trying to get the feel for that. She’s just lovely, really chilled out, very nice, seems really approachable and just really lovely. I was very nervous for the first five to ten minutes but I was all good after that.’

And as for the rehearsals, Walker said they spent about 90 minutes together and ran through the song nine times, adding it was ‘socially distanced of course, we made sure all the measures were followed where they could be’.

He continued: ‘And we just rehearsed it until she was like, right, I think I’ve kind of got it now. And I was like, well look, I tell you what we’ll send you a backing track that’s like the song but without the piano and a click track, and you can just play along to that and see how you get on.

‘When she turned up for the actual performance, you could really tell she’d gone to town practising because I was shocked at how much better she was. She really invested a lot of time and energy into getting it right and making sure that it was good, so I was really impressed – great musician.’

Asked if she mentioned about doing more music in the future, Walker joked: ‘Well, we’re working on the album! No, she didn’t mention anything else about that, but I never thought I’d get a chance to play with a member of the Royal Family, so whatever comes after this I don’t think I’ll be too surprised. I’ll be opening up for her soon!’

Kensington Palace had released a teaser video on Instagram today of Kate walking up to a piano before taking a seat and beginning to play, although the clip was uploaded without any sound.

Leona Lewis

Leona Lewis

Singer Leona Lewis performs during the Christmas carol service held at Westminster Abbey in London on December 8

Leona Lewis sings during the Christmas carol service held at Westminster Abbey in London on December 8

Leona Lewis sings during the Christmas carol service held at Westminster Abbey in London on December 8

Mila Sneddon, six, standing at the crib during 'Royal Carols - Together At Christmas' at Westminster Abbey on December 8

Mila Sneddon, six, standing at the crib during ‘Royal Carols – Together At Christmas’ at Westminster Abbey on December 8

Kate Garraway gives a reading during 'Royal Carols: Together At Christmas' which is being held at Westminster Abbey

Kate Garraway gives a reading during ‘Royal Carols: Together At Christmas’ which is being held at Westminster Abbey

Choristers from the Westminster Abbey Choir take part in 'Royal Carols: Together At Christmas' on December 8

Choristers from the Westminster Abbey Choir take part in ‘Royal Carols: Together At Christmas’ on December 8

Paralympian and junior doctor Kim Daybell gives a reading during the royal carols service at Westminster Abbey

Paralympian and junior doctor Kim Daybell gives a reading during the royal carols service at Westminster Abbey

The Countess of Wessex meets a reindeer as she leaves the Together At Christmas community carol service on December 8

The Countess of Wessex meets a reindeer as she leaves the Together At Christmas community carol service on December 8

Mila Sneddon, six, watched by her mother, Lynda, lighting a candle at the crib during the service at Westminster Abbey

Mila Sneddon, six, watched by her mother, Lynda, lighting a candle at the crib during the service at Westminster Abbey

Members of the congregation light a candle at the crib during 'Royal Carols: Together At Christmas' on December 8

Members of the congregation light a candle at the crib during ‘Royal Carols: Together At Christmas’ on December 8

A chorister taking part in 'Royal Carols: Together At Christmas' which was held at Westminster Abbey on December 8

A chorister taking part in ‘Royal Carols: Together At Christmas’ which was held at Westminster Abbey on December 8

The Queen's Piper playing by the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior during the 'Royal Carols: Together At Christmas' service

The Queen’s Piper playing by the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior during the ‘Royal Carols: Together At Christmas’ service

Choristers from the Westminster Abbey Choir taking part in 'Royal Carols: Together At Christmas' on December 8

Choristers from the Westminster Abbey Choir taking part in ‘Royal Carols: Together At Christmas’ on December 8

A young member of the congregation taking part in 'Royal Carols: Together At Christmas' at Westminster Abbey

A young member of the congregation taking part in ‘Royal Carols: Together At Christmas’ at Westminster Abbey

Poet Lemn Sissay performing 'To The Day', a poem created for the Westminster Abbey carol service on December 8

Poet Lemn Sissay performing ‘To The Day’, a poem created for the Westminster Abbey carol service on December 8

Members of the congregation take part in 'Royal Carols: Together At Christmas' at Westminster Abbey on December 8

Members of the congregation take part in ‘Royal Carols: Together At Christmas’ at Westminster Abbey on December 8

Alongside the piano and musical note emoji, it read: ‘Tonight. @ITV. 7:30pm. #TogetherAtChristmas.’

Ellie Goulding stuns in an incredible embellished satin gown and feathered cape ahead of her performance at service

She will be performing on the Royal Carols Together At Christmas.

And Ellie Goulding, 34, looked stunning in a white gown ahead of the Westminster Abbey concert, which will be broadcast tonight on ITV.

Goulding donned a satin full length dress complete sheer long sleeves and heavy silver embellishing that scattered outwards from her waist.

llie Goulding, 34, stuns in a satin embellished gown and feathered cape ahead of her performance for the concert

llie Goulding, 34, stuns in a satin embellished gown and feathered cape ahead of her performance for the concert

She added a dramatic feather trimmed cape with structured shoulders that created a small train behind her.

Her bright blonde locks were styles loose as she opted for a simple makeup palette with a pink lip for her performance.

Taking to Instagram, the singer penned: ‘Honoured to perform for the Duke & Duchess, one of my favourite songs for Christmas.’

Kate gained her grade three piano and grade five theory and she was given lessons by Daniel Nicholls until she was 13, but has never performed at a major public event such as this.

Mr Nicholls taught the Duchess to play the piano along with her mother Carole, sister Pippa, and brother James.

Ahead of her wedding to William in 2011, Mr Nicholls told the BBC: ‘Kate came for lessons when she was about 10 or 11, until she was 13, about 1993 to 95.

‘She was absolutely lovely, a really delightful person to teach the piano.

‘I actually taught the whole family except Mike – Carole, Pippa and James, and again they were just absolutely lovely people, normal piano pupils.’

He added at the time: ‘I don’t think anyone would say she was going to be a concert pianist, but she was good at it, she always did everything she was told.’

After learning piano, Kate also turned to flute, which she played until the age of 18 in the school’s orchestra.

She was also in a senior flute group called Tootie-Flooties with her sister Pippa.

In a recorded introduction to the service, Kate paid tribute to the ‘inspirational’ people who have served their communities during the ‘bleak time’ of the pandemic.

Kate said: ‘We wanted to say a huge thank you to all those amazing people out there who have supported their communities.

‘We also wanted to recognise those whose struggles perhaps have been less visible too.’

The Duchess said the country had been through ‘such a bleak time’ and had faced ‘many challenges’, including the loss of loved ones, while frontline workers had been under ‘immense pressure’.

She added that while people had been ‘more emotionally and socially distanced and isolated from each other’, this separation had helped people to realise ‘how much we need each other’ and the importance of acts of kindness.

The service was attended by those Kate and William had spent time with during recent engagements.

Also in attendance were members of the armed forces involved in Operation Pitting to evacuate British nationals and eligible Afghans from Afghanistan.

Others at the service were young carers, faith leaders and those who may have been more vulnerable or isolated during the pandemic.

The service includes music from the Westminster Abbey choir, and singers Leona Lewis and Ellie Goulding.

The Duke of Cambridge, British Paralympian and junior doctor Kim Daybell, actor Tom Felton and presenter Kate Garraway all gave readings.

There was also a performance of To The Day, a special piece created for the service by poet and writer Lemn Sissay.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are pictured arriving for for the service at Westminster Abbey on December 8

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are pictured arriving for for the service at Westminster Abbey on December 8

OCTOBER -- (From left) The Duchess of Cambridge meets TV presenters Ant McPartlin and Declan Donnelly, and musician Tom Walker at the launch of the Forward Trust's Taking Action on Addiction campaign at BAFTA in London on October 19, 2021. It was at this event that Kate met Walker before he was later approached to take part in the Westminster Abbey service

OCTOBER — (From left) The Duchess of Cambridge meets TV presenters Ant McPartlin and Declan Donnelly, and musician Tom Walker at the launch of the Forward Trust’s Taking Action on Addiction campaign at BAFTA in London on October 19, 2021. It was at this event that Kate met Walker before he was later approached to take part in the Westminster Abbey service

The carol service was developed with BBC Studios Events Productions but broadcast on ITV.

William and Kate reportedly dropped the BBC as the broadcaster for their Christmas special in the wake of the two-part series The Princes and the Press, which was criticised by the Queen, Prince Charles and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge for giving credibility to ‘overblown and unfounded claims’ about the Royal Family.

Kate and William were joined at the service by a host of other royals, including Sophie, Countess of Wessex, Princess Beatrice and her husband Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi , Princess Eugenie, and Zara and Mike Tindall.

The Duchess’ parents Carole and Michael Middleton, as well as her siblings James and Pippa, were also in attendance.

Royal Carols: Together At Christmas aired on ITV from 7.30pm tonight and will be available on the ITV Hub

Kate Middleton delights fans with surprise piano performance with Tom Walker

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