Christmas is a festive occasion, and had it not been for the pandemic, people would have participated in the merriment and enjoyed the bonhomie. The British royal family is no different. Members of the royalty, too, celebrated the festival with great pomp until last year, and this year, just like the rest of us, the Queen, too, will have to accommodate some changes, and follow the rules.
According to a report in The Independent, the Buckingham Palace announced December 1 that the Queen and Prince Philip will be “breaking with recent royal tradition” to spend Christmas ‘quietly’ at Windsor, instead of their Sandringham Estate in Norfolk.
If you have been wondering what a typical Christmas for the family would have looked like had it not been a pandemic year, here’s the information you need.
The outlet mentions in its report that the Queen and Prince Philip would normally have headed to Sandringham a week prior to the day. And instead of taking the expensive private royal train from London, the Queen would have preferred a carriage of a normal scheduled King’s Cross to King’s Lynn train.
Family members who would have received an invitation, would have arrived on Christmas Eve — with each unit allocated a specific time of arrival, since the Queen does not like when everyone turns up at once! In fact, it is even said that the arrival time depends on the status of the family member, with junior members arriving first and the most senior members last.
The official royal website states: “On Christmas Eve, The Royal Family lay out their presents on trestle tables and will exchange their gifts at teatime.” Additionally, all the members of the royal family would have received gifts from the Queen herself, with her personally handing them out to some members of The Royal Household at Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle.
The entire family would have then taken their seats for the formal Christmas Eve dinner next, wherein all guests are usually expected to wear black-tie or evening gowns.
On the day of Christmas, the Queen would have woken up first to be driven to St Mary Magdalene Church at Sandringham. For the Christmas lunch, Darren McGrady, the Queen’s former chef for 11 long years, had revealed that the royals “tend to keep it traditional – with a classic turkey rather than other meats”. “They’re actually boring when it comes to festivities. They didn’t do hams or anything, just traditional turkeys,” the 58-year-old had told Hello! magazine.
“We did three turkeys for the Queen and her family in the royal dining room, one for the children’s nursery and then more for the 100 or so staff, so everyone had a Christmas lunch.”
While we are not sure how drastically different the celebrations will be this year, we do know that may not be as elaborate as that of previous year’s, or the one before that. But, we do hope everyone gets to celebrate safely!
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines