The Duchess of Cambridge was the surprise hit of a British royal family carol service after she revealed her piano skills.
A clip on the Kensington Palace Twitter feed teased Kate's musical accompaniment to the Christmas Eve carol service and pop star Tom Walker confirmed how they rehearsed so she could hone her, until now, little-known talent.
Walker, known for his hit Leave A Light On, described Kate as an “amazing musician” who “absolutely nailed” playing the piano for the service at Westminster Abbey, in London.
They got together for rehearsals in a recording studio before the concert, which was broadcast on Christmas Eve.
“I didn't even know she played piano,” Walker said. “It was very secret, very secret — even the studio didn't know what was going on. We were sitting on opposite sides of the room, for Covid, rehearsing.
“So we got together, 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.
“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.”
In a recorded introduction to the service, the duchess 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".
For Queen Elizabeth, it is her Christmas without her husband, Prince Philip, who died in April.
The Queen is expected to be joined at Windsor Castle on Christmas Day by the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall, having shelved her customary trip to Sandringham as a “precautionary” measure amid rising coronavirus cases. She also cancelled her traditional pre-Christmas family lunch.
Her speech will be broadcast at 3pm GMT on Christmas Day.