Middleton Mingling: Kate and Pippa Celebrate New Year's in Family Back Yard

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Despite reports that Prince William and Kate Middleton's New Year's plans involved spending time at his father's sprawling Scotland, estate, they chose a more low-key locale.

A tent pitched in the back garden of the Middleton family's yard!

According to the U.K.'s Mail on Sunday, Pippa Middleton, who along with her parents is in the party-planning business, played host to the (relatively) small soiree.

  • Duchess Catherine
  • Pip Off to Work

The Middleton girls know how to dress - and party!

The stylish sister has expensive taste: The tent alone cost nearly $5,000 (or 3,000 in British pounds) to set up behind their home in Berkshire, England.

Described by an onlooker as a "canvas palace," the tent enclosed a dance floor and seating for more than 100 party-goers ready to ring in 2012.

"[Kate Middleton] looked full of the joys of the season," a party-goer said of 2011's royal bride, 29, who laughed and joked with her husband, also 29.

The celebration in her hometown with Pippa, 27, comes nearly a week after the Duchess' first Christmas as a royal in Sandringham, Norfolk.

[Photos: Fame Pictures, WENN.com]

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She is a btiueaful girl and always smiling. A sunny disposition will be an asset when living in a fishbowl. I wish them both luck. They seem like classy kids.

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Kate and William seem like very nice people. However, this event was nothing more than an opportunity to exploit Pippa's party planning skills and upcoming book. And to think the palace wants to identify with common people; the tent (unfortunately made of animal hide) costs what!