Prince William will be spending Christmas without girlfriend Kate Middleton, as she is jetting off for a sunshine break in Barbados.

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The 25-year-old couple have decided to spend the festive season with their respective families, with Kate enjoying a Caribbean getaway with her family, and William sticking with royal protocol and staying at his grandmother Queen Elizabeth’s Norfolk residence, Sandringham estate.

The couple – who reunited this summer following a three-month break – realised it would be unfair to expect the queen to invite Kate to Sandringham in light of how turbulent their relationship has been over the past few months.

A source told the Sunday Mirror: “Kate wanted to avoid an awkward situation with William at Christmas. To save the issue raising its ugly head, she has booked a sunshine break with her family, returning the day after Boxing Day.

“Kate and Wills are now firmly back on track, but they both accepted they wouldn’t be spending Christmas together this year.

“Kate is looking forward to a relaxed holiday in a private hideaway in Barbados and spending time with her family, while William will stick to royal protocol by being at Sandringham.”

The couple may be in different countries for Christmas, but they have made sure they will be together on New Year’s Eve.

The sourced added: “Although they will be apart for Christmas, Kate has made sure she will be back in time to spend New Year with William.”

Last Christmas, Kate reportedly turned down an invitation to spend Christmas with the royal family, saying she wanted to wait until she is officially Prince William’s wife before joining in the festivities.