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Kate Middleton Honors John Lennon and George Michael in Surprise Way at Christmas Carol Concert

The Princess of Wales' carol concert falls on the anniversary of John Lennon's death

<p>Vinnie Zuffante/Getty; Dave Hogan/Getty; Chris Jackson/Getty</p> John Lennon in 1973; George Michael in 2011; Kate Middleton at the Together At Christmas concert on Dec. 8.

Vinnie Zuffante/Getty; Dave Hogan/Getty; Chris Jackson/Getty

John Lennon in 1973; George Michael in 2011; Kate Middleton at the Together At Christmas concert on Dec. 8.

Kate Middleton wove emotional tributes into her Together At Christmas carol concert.

On Friday night, the Princess of Wales, 41, hosted the holiday service at Westminster Abbey for the third year in a row. This year's event featured a piece of pop music history in honor of John Lennon and George Michael.

During the program, U.K. radio host and mental health advocate Roman Kemp, 30, the son of pop stars Martin Kemp and Shirlie Holliman, introduced singer-songwriter Jacob Collier’s performance of “Last Christmas,” which he performed on a piano that originally belonged to Beatles frontman Lennon and was once owned by Michael.

“Last Christmas” was originally sung by Michael, Kemp’s late godfather, through his duo Wham! with Andrew Ridgeley in 1984. Michael died on Christmas Day in 2016, and his godson remembered him at Together At Christmas as a “a man of great kindness and compassion,” adding that he was there in “spirit.”

He “helped to inspire not only myself but so many others,” Kemp said.

<p>Chris Jackson/Getty</p> Kate Middleton chats with Roman Kemp at the Together At Christmas concert on Dec. 8.

Chris Jackson/Getty

Kate Middleton chats with Roman Kemp at the Together At Christmas concert on Dec. 8.

Related: Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis Support Mom Kate Middleton at Christmas Concert

The Capital Breakfast presenter then shared the story about how Michael bought the Steinway piano Lennon used to write the song “Imagine,” released in 1971. The “Careless Whisper” singer purchased it at auction for £1.45m ($1.8 million) in 2000 and later used it to write his own music, the BBC reported.

<p>Peter Jordan - PA Images/PA Images via Getty</p> A photo of John Legend's "Imagine" piano before it went up for auction in 2000.

Peter Jordan - PA Images/PA Images via Getty

A photo of John Legend's "Imagine" piano before it went up for auction in 2000.

Related: Kate Middleton Plays Royal Hostess at Her Third Christmas Carol Concert at Westminster Abbey

“It’s not the type of thing that should be in storage somewhere or being protected, it should be seen by people,” Michael told the press after the purchase, according to NME.

Michael’s estate previously lent the “Imagine” piano to the Strawberry Field exhibit in Liverpool in 2020, and Princess Kate’s Together At Christmas guests heard the historic piano ring out once more. Friday also marks the 43rd anniversary of Lennon’s assassination in New York City at age 40, taking the musical tribute full circle.

Princess Kate spearheaded the first Together At Christmas concert in 2021 as a tribute to the individuals and organizations across the U.K. who supported their communities during the COVID pandemic and has since turned it into a tradition, supported by The Royal Foundation.

This year’s carol service is linked to Kate’s Shaping Us campaign from her Royal Foundation Centre for Early Childhood.

<p>Chris Jackson/Getty</p> Kate Middleton enters the Together At Christmas Carol Service at Westminster Abbey in London on December 8

Chris Jackson/Getty

Kate Middleton enters the Together At Christmas Carol Service at Westminster Abbey in London on December 8

Although the event was limited to a guest list (Westminster Abbey can only seat about 2,200 people!), the public can tune into the Royal Carols: Together at Christmas broadcast once again on ITV1 and ITVX on Christmas Eve.

According to the palace, those invited to the upcoming concert were nominated by local Lord-Lieutenants, as well as charities affiliated with members of the royal family. Others have been invited for their work in the early years sector, a key focus of Princess Kate’s work through The Royal Foundation Centre for Early Childhood, which she established in June 2021 under the umbrella of the larger philanthropic Royal Foundation she shares with Prince William.

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Extending the guest list, the concert will also welcome “those who may have had a challenging year, including children and families, or those who might find the winter period difficult.”

This year’s musical lineup includes the Westminster Abbey choir and performances by Adam Lambert, Beverley Knight, Jacob Collier, Freya Ridings and James Bay, plus a reading from Prince William, among others.

<p>Chris Jackson/Getty</p> Kate Middleton, Prince William, Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis arrive for the Together At Christmas Carol Service at Westminster Abbey in London on December 8.

Chris Jackson/Getty

Kate Middleton, Prince William, Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis arrive for the Together At Christmas Carol Service at Westminster Abbey in London on December 8.

Princess Kate was all smiles as she made her way into Westminster Abbey for the festive service, where she was supported by Prince William and all three of their children for the first time. While Prince George, 10, and Princess Charlotte, 8, made their debut at the carol concert last year, this year was special as Prince Louis, 5, tagged along for the first time. 

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