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A Very British Christmas

Are you eager to spend your Christmas as if you were a member of the British Royal Family? Clear your calendars, because you’re in for a busy week.

Christmas with the Queen begins the week before, with a pre-Christmas lunch at Buckingham Palace for all members of the Royal Family. All senior members attend unless they have prior commitments (as was the case this year for the Duke of Cambridge), and so do junior members.

From there, the Queen and Prince Philip head to the Sandringham estate in Norfolk, where the Royal Family always spends Christmas together. Guests begin arriving on 23 December, with Prince Charles and his wife Camilla arriving last, during the day on Christmas Eve.

This year it is expected that 33 members of the Royal Family will gather to spend Christmas together, including the Queen’s children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren, amongst others.

Once the entire family is assembled, they sit for tea and receive a schedule of events. The Queen watches as the children decorate the Christmas tree, which is picked from the estate grounds.

Later that night, the family dresses in black tie outfits to tuck into a delicious candlelit feast, then gather around to open their Christmas presents. Prince Albert, husband of Queen Victoria, introduced this custom to the Royal Family, which was a German tradition.

One might wonder what exactly you buy the Queen for Christmas, but rest assured, the family is more interested in funny, cheap gifts than serious, expensive items.

An often-mentioned story about Diana involves her first Christmas spent as a member of the Royal Family, where she gave everyone cashmere sweaters and mohair scarves. Typically, the family gifts each other with gag gifts, such as the time Princess Anne was rumoured to have given Prince Charles a white leather toilet seat. It’s reported that the Duchess of Cambridge typically gives everyone preserves that she makes herself.

The Royal Family then makes a highly publicised visit to St Mary Magdalene Church on Christmas morning, which is located on the Sandringham estate. Well-wishers greet the royals and give flowers to the women as they make their way back from church. Afterwards, a lunch is served and the family gathers to watch the Queen’s annual Christmas speech.

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