The year 2022 was one of historic change for the Royal Family. The period that began with Queen Elizabeth II on the throne will end with King Charles III as the reigning monarch following her death on September 8th.
The Queen's passing saw a shift in the family member's titles, responsibilities, and royal residences. So after a year of significant change, it is only inevitable to wonder how their Christmas will compare to previous years.
Many families learn that the first holiday after a death is the hardest, which is likely to be the case for the royals, who will no doubt remember the late Queen during their festivities. But what can we expect from King Charles' first Christmas on the throne?
5 Royal Family Christmas traditions
Here, investigate the royals' most notable traditions and whether they are likely to continue after a year like no other.
1. The family will celebrate at Sandringham
King Charles and Queen Consort Camilla will host the royal family at Sandringham –the Norfolk estate frequented by the late monarch at Christmas.
Queen Elizabeth spent 32 holidays at the country residence and only broke tradition during the coronavirus pandemic when she celebrated at Windsor Castle. However, this year, King Charles is set to resume the Christmas tradition and welcome the Prince and Princess of Wales and other senior members of the family.
Royal experts speculate how long the younger royals will stay at Sandringham, with some suggesting that Catherine hopes to spend some of the period with her parents, the Middletons. However, it is expected that they will be there for at least some of the day – and possibly longer.
This year, The Daily Mail (opens in new tab) reports that the King may invite Prince Andrew’s ex-wife, Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York (famously known as Fergie), to celebrate with her daughters Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie. She has not celebrated with the Royals since 1992 when she separated from the Prince.
2. They will attend church on Christmas morning
Many families go for a Christmas walk and/or attend a service at their local house of worship, and the Royals are no different.
On Christmas morning, the family walks from Sandringham to St. Mary Magdalene Church, a 16th-century structure that was visited by Queen Victoria in the nineteenth century. While en route, the family greets well-wishers who often descend on the small town for the 25th.
It is not guaranteed that the Royals will attend this service, but given their affiliation with the Church of England, it is expected this tradition will continue into 2022 and beyond.
3. Gifts are opened on Christmas Eve
The Royal Family opens their gifts on Christmas Eve – celebrating a Teutonic custom named Heiligabend Bescherung, the legacy of Queen Victoria’s husband, Prince Albert, who also imported the German habit of cutting off the top of a fir tree for it to be decorated inside the home.
A royal expert confirmed to the Daily Beast (opens in new tab) that the Christmas Eve tradition will continue and that the family will open their gifts at tea time on the 24th.
4. The King gifts staff a Christmas tree
With his new role as monarch, Charles is now in charge of gifting not just presents to his staff – but Christmas trees too.
The Queen's father, King George VI, passed the tradition to his daughter, who was known to give a tree to those who work for the family. Marie Claire (opens in new tab) reported that the trees came from her Windsor Crown Estate, and every year, she would gift a new tree with a Christmas pudding.
In a statement, the palace confirmed the Queen's gifts in 2021, saying that all members of the Royal Household received presents from Her Majesty, who personally handed the presents to some members at Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle.
5. The Christmas message is pre-recorded at an earlier date
Hello! (opens in new tab) reports that the King will have pre-recorded his Christmas address to the Commonwealth before the 25th – allowing him and his family to have a relaxed holiday.
King George V started this tradition when he broadcast his speech on the radio in 1932. It has since become a memorable part of the Christmas Day celebrations for many in the United Kingdom and globally. This year, the King will likely pay tribute to his late mother in the speech, which will be broadcast at 3 PM (GMT) on Christmas Day.
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.
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