Britain's Queen Elizabeth has reinstated a Christmas party for her staff after it was axed in 2010.

The 86-year-old monarch will treat 2,000 guests to champagne and canapés at an event on December 17 in one of the Buckingham Palace state apartments, which will see Duchess Catherine - known as Kate Middleton prior to her and Prince William's nuptials last year - make her debut appearance at the festive bash.

A member of Buckingham Palace staff told the Sunday Express newspaper: ''Everyone is delighted it is back. It is a rare opportunity for everyone to let their hair down and have a great night.

''All the royals are there, they dance with the servants and it will be extra special because of the queen's Diamond Jubilee and the fantastic year she has had. Everyone will want to dance with her and congratulate her and all the younger male staff will want to dance with Kate.''

The traditional party was axed in 2010 to show solidarity to the nation during very tough economic times, but the queen is expected to splash out £100,000 on this year's event, which will see staff from the Palace, Windsor Castle, Clarence House and workers from her estates all attending.

A royal insider added: ''She would not have reinstated the party unless she was confident it was in keeping with the spirit of the nation. It is only natural she'd want to thank staff for their hard work.''