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Inside Sandringham – where King Charles and Queen Consort Camilla will host the royal family this Christmas

The King will follow a tradition enjoyed by the late Queen – but Prince William and Catherine may not stay long at the country retreat

Sandringham
(Image credit: Courtesy of Sandringham Estate)

King Charles III is set to host his first Christmas – not only as the British monarch – but without his late mother, Queen Elizabeth II. This holiday will be the first in modern history without the Queen, who was known for spending the 25th in her beloved Sandringham home in Norfolk, eastern England. 

The royal residence has become synonymous with Christmas for many across the UK and worldwide, for a good reason. The Queen was known to have spent 32 Christmases in the country retreat and only broke tradition during the coronavirus pandemic when she celebrated at Windsor Castle

This year, BBC News (opens in new tab) reports that King Charles will return to Sandringham, along with his wife Camilla, Queen Consort, and their wider family. However, royal expert Jeremy Archer suggests that year will be more low-key, and the Prince and Princess of Wales may not stay in Sandringham for an extended time. 

Sandringham

(Image credit: Courtesy of Sandringham Estate)

Jeremy Archer predicts Prince William and Princess Catherine will likely spend Christmas at Sandringham but will then travel south to Berkshire (with their children Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis of Wales) to spend New Year's with the Middletons. 

'It is going to be different, but Christmas at Sandringham works well for the family,' the expert shared with OK! (opens in new tab). 'Unlike Windsor and Buckingham Palace, it's a sporting venue and fits in well with their traditional Boxing Day shoot,' he says. 

Sandringham

(Image credit: Courtesy of Sandringham Estate)

Former BBC royal correspondent Jennie Bond adds that the Prince and Princess may only call into Sandringham to say 'hello' on Christmas day – saying that they may want to 'do their own thing for at least part of the time.' Therefore, it's possible that they may only enjoy a festive lunch at the Norfolk estate before moving elsewhere.

'While I imagine there will be a gathering at Sandringham, whether it will be quite as extended as it used to be with the Queen and with quite as many people, I’m not sure,' Bond says. 

Sandringham

(Image credit: Courtesy of Sandringham Estate)

If the King follows Christmas traditions, he will join the family at a service at St. Mary Magdalene Church in Sandringham on Christmas morning. Queen Elizabeth II was also known to gift her staff presents and a Christmas tree, so he will likely follow this ritual, too.

Beyond the home's regal interiors (and, we expect, luxe Christmas decorations), its grounds are equally as impressive. King Charles's private garden at the Sandringham Estate is among the most beautiful in the country – created by architect and garden designer Geoffrey Jelicoe in 1947 for King George VI. 

The formal enclosed areas of the garden showcase a quintessential 'cottage garden' aesthetic, which we expect to look beautiful when covered in snow.

Sandringham

(Image credit: Courtesy of Sandringham Estate)

Sandringham is not a full-time royal residence, meaning it is open to the public for much of the year. It is, however, closed for the holidays, when the family comes together, just as they will do this weekend. You can plan your visit to Sandringham (opens in new tab) online. 

Sandringham, PE35 6EN, England.

Megan Slack
News Editor

Megan is the News and Trends Editor at Homes & Gardens. She first joined Future Plc as a News Writer across their interiors titles, including Livingetc and Real Homes. As the News Editor, she often focuses on emerging microtrends, sleep and wellbeing stories, and celebrity-focused pieces. Before joining Future, Megan worked as a News Explainer at The Telegraph, following her MA in International Journalism at the University of Leeds. During her BA in English Literature and Creative Writing, she gained writing experience in the US while studying in New York. Megan also focused on travel writing during her time living in Paris, where she produced content for a French travel site. She currently lives in London with her antique typewriter and an expansive collection of houseplants.