Prince William's new royal admirer


25th December 2006

The future King holds hands with his young second cousin Margarita Armstrong-Jones as they walk to the Royal Famlily's traditional Christmas Day church service at Sandringham. But she wasn't the only female admirer of Prince William yesterday: 23 year Hayley Croot managed to give the Prince a kiss.

He is used to receiving admiring glances from female fans the world over.

But the young lady who gazed adoringly at Prince William yesterday was a little closer to home.

Four-year-old Margarita Armstrong-Jones, his second cousin and Viscount Linley's daughter, only had eyes for the Prince as he entertained her while walking to the Royal Family's traditional Christmas Day church service at Sandringham.

Other female family members tried to capture the limelight with outlandish fashion choices - from Camilla's leopard skin hat to Beatrice and Eugenie's four inch heels - but it was the youngster who stole the show.

Beaming with happiness and clutching his hand tightly, the blonde-haired girl stared up at William and begged him and Peter Phillips, the Princess Ann's son, to swing her up into the air. "Again, again," she laughed.

Smiling, he refused - but treated her to another swing as they left St Mary Magdalene Church after the 45 minute service.

The youngster, however, was not the only female seeking the attention of the second in line to the throne.

Hayley Croot, a 23-year-old cinema manager from Cambridge, shrieked excitedly after she planted a Christmas kiss on William's left cheek.

Miss Croot was with her mum Jill and sister Megan, 15, in a crowd of about 500 well-wishers who braved the cold to greet the Royal Family on the Queen's Norfolk estate.

She said: "He was shaking hands with lots of people and I reached out and he shook mine.

"I asked him 'can I give you a kiss?' and he said 'yep'.

"I leaned over and gave him a kiss on his left cheek which was very smooth. It felt awesome to kiss a prince, I have had a crush on him for quite a long time."

Fans of William's brother Prince Harry, though, were left disappointed. Harry, a Cornet in the Household Cavalry, was on duty at Windsor barracks.

William's girlfriend Kate Middleton also did not attend the service because she is spending Christmas with her family.

Security was tight before the 11am service, with crowds subjected to body searches and bag checks by police.

The Queen arrived in a chauffeur-driven burgundy Bentley.

Dressed in a burgundy coat and hat, she was joined by Prince Edward's wife Sophie, who took the seat beside her.

The 80-year-old Queen arrived after the rest of her family and walked easily up the steps to the church - unlike the Countess of Wessex who stumbled slightly on the path.

Zara Phillips, Princess Anne's daughter also had trouble on the steps to the church, tripping slightly in her two inch high brown wedge boots.

She shone in her three-quarter length coat with a bold white flower print.

The Queen's granddaughters, Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie, also sparkled in matching coats - one in navy blue and one in turquoise - and four inch heels.

The rest of the Royal party made the short trip from the house on foot a few minutes earlier.

Prince Edward and Prince Phillip led the way followed by Prince Charles and his wife Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, who wore a striking brown coat with leopard skin cuffs and a leopard skin hat with feathers.

Also at the service were Princess Anne, Rear Admiral Timothy Lawrence, her husband, Prince Andrew and his daughters and Viscount Linley's sister Lady Sarah Chatto and her sons Samuel, 10, and Arthur, seven.

Afterwards, a line of about 30 children presented flowers to the Queen while Charles, Camilla, Ann and William spoke to well-wishers and received flowers and presents from them.
The Rector, Rev Jonathan Riviere, addressed the congregation and people outside heard his words via loudspeaker. The congregation sang God Save The Queen and the carols Hark The Herald Angels Sing and Oh Come All Ye Faithful.