The holidays are in full swing. For most of us that means traveling back to our childhood homes where we will sleep in tiny single beds under posters of *NSYNC and Britney Spears (no, that’s just me? OK). But for the British royal family, the entire season is a much more extravagant affair. Keep reading to learn more about the unique holiday traditions led by Queen Elizabeth.
Just like the commoners she rules over, the Queen too must endure several nights of merriment surrounded by both her immediate and extended family. The festivities, People reported, begin on Christmas Eve, when the royal family exchanges gifts. The entire family then attends a candlelit dinner precisely at 8 p.m.
In the morning the royal family will then embark on their yearly journey to the traditional church service at St Mary’s Magdalene. The family, Hello! Magazine noted, will then head back to the house for lunch and to watch the Queen’s annual Christmas Day address.
“Unlike all the other residences except apart from Balmoral, Sandringham is owned by the Queen privately, it’s her own private home,” Helen Walch, Sandringham Estate’s public enterprises manager, told the Telegraph. “Unlike say Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle, which are official residences of the monarch, this is her quiet country retreat.”
According to the Telegraph, it is royal tradition for the Queen and Prince Philip to make the journey to Sandringham via public transport several days before the holiday to ensure everything is properly set up. Meanwhile, the rest of the royal crew will arrive on Christmas Eve.
There will be no shortage of guests at Sandringham House this year. According to reports, the Queen and Prince Philip will be joined by Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, Prince Charles and his wife Camilla, Peter Phillips and his wife Autumn, Zara Phillips and her husband Mike Tindall, along with a plethora of grandchildren and great grandchildren. The only attendees up in the air are Prince William and Kate Middleton. In 2016, the pair, along with their two children, opted out of the royal traditions and instead spent a quiet holiday with Middleton’s parents. No word yet on where the royal duo will spend their holiday this year.
While you may think of the royal family as a few rather uptight gift givers, it turns out that the entire Windsor crew is simply in it for a good laugh. They do, after all, have everything. Instead of giving each other expensive items, the royal family reportedly competes to see who can give the cheapest, silliest, and downright most inappropriate gift each holiday season. Need proof? According to Express, Prince Harry once gave Queen Elizabeth a shower cap that read “Ain’t life a bitch?” Meanwhile, Prince Charles was once gifted a white leather toilet seat by his sister. Who says the royals aren’t a fun bunch?