Kate Middleton

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Forget partying like a rock star. In 2012, it's all about partying like a royal!

So, did you ring in the new year like Prince William, Kate Middleton and the rest of their regal crew? Well, that all depends.

Did police find a dead body in your yard, too?

Prince William

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That's right, while it sounds like the plot of a particularly intriguing British caper (paging Sherlock), a real-life murder inquiry broke out at the queen's Sandringham Estate on New Year's day, the very location that Will, Kate, Prince Harry and the rest of the close knit royal family spent their Christmas.

However, the young royals were long gone when a dog walker happened upon the remains of an as yet unidentified woman in the immense (like, 20,000-acres' worth) wooded farmland surrounding the grounds. Buckingham Palace has refused comment, calling it a police matter.

While Queen Elizabeth II and a recovering Prince Philip remain in residence at the estate (the queen was even out this morning riding her ponies, criminal investigations be damned), everyone's favorite young royals were nowhere near the morbid discovery, as Will and Kate rang in their first new year as a married couple in a much more low-key way: namely, with the entire Middleton clan at their own Bucklebury home.

The 29-year-old duchess was spotted running around the grounds of her parents' home on New Year's Eve day playing with a golden retriever and a small black puppy (while donning her fashion-forward Barbour jacket and $465 Le Chameau rain boots), while Wills trailed behind her in his own matching coat and Hunter wellies.

Later that night, by all accounts the duo joined the rest of the Middleton family—and 100 of their closest friends—in a celebration organized entirely by party planner extraordinaire Pippa Middleton, who had rented out a teepee-style "kata" for the evening.

While safely ensconced inside the kata (and away from prying paparazzi lenses), the revelers reportedly partied the night (and year!) away in style, thanks to immaculate tables and dinner place settings, free-flowing champagne and a dance floor.

Absent from the festivities, sadly, was Harry, who instead saw out 2011 from a ski resort in Switzerland, along with pals Guy Pelly and Tom Inskip and princess cousins Beatrice and Eugenie. Also celebrating alongside the royals was singer James Blunt.

All told, 2012 will no doubt be a banner one for the young royals. In addition to mounting pressure/wishful thinking for Will and Kate to procreate, it's also the queen's diamond jubilee year, and the London Olympics, for which Will, Kate and Harry will serve as ambassadors—though not before Harry is once again deployed to Afghanistan and Wills heads for the Falklands.

Phew, we're exhausted just thinking about their schedules.

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