Prince William & Kate Party with Pippa for New Year's

01/01/2012 at 12:00 PM EST

New Years: The Royals Ring in 2012
Prince William and Kate (left) and Pippa Middleton
Getty (2)
Party like a royal!

Despite buzz that Prince William and Catherine would ring in the New Year at his father's sprawling Aberdeen, Scotland, estate, when it came time to celebrate, the couple chose a more low-key locale: a tent pitched in the back garden of the Middleton family home in Berkshire, England.

According to the U.K.'s Mail on Sunday, Pippa, who's in the party-planning business, played host.

And the stylish sister has expensive taste: The tent, a teepee-style kata made of animal hides, cost nearly $5,000 (3,000 British pounds).

Described by an onlooker as a "canvas palace," the tent enclosed a dance floor and seating for more than 100 partygoers.

Notably missing: Prince Harry, who rang in the New Year in Switzerland, where he was spotted at the ski resort Verbier.

"[Catherine] looked full of the joys of the season," a local said of the royal, 29, who laughed and joked with her husband, also 29.

The celebration in her hometown comes nearly a week after the duchess's first Christmas as a royal in Sandringham, Norfolk.

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