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Royal Christmas

How Sandringham became the favourite royal home for Christmas celebrations

Following the 2022 death of Queen Elizabeth II, her son, King Charles has so far carried out the tradition of celebrating Christmas at Sandringham, the beloved country estate in Norfolk.

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During the reign of Queen Elizabeth II, many Christmas holidays were spent at the country estate, 32 Christmases to be exact. The Queen would take the train from London to Norfolk every December where she would usually stay until the anniversary of the death of her father, King George VI. The 6 February anniversary also marks the day she ascended to the throne at the start of what would be the longest reign in British history.

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Each Christmas, the Royal Family makes a trip to St Mary Magdalene church for Christmas Day service. They then spend their time greeting well-wishers as they head back to Sandringham to enjoy a traditional turkey holiday feast. The family will then gather to watch the Monarch’s Christmas Day broadcast which typically features highlights of the year, and well wishes upon the New Year.

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During the pandemic, the Royal Family was separated for two Christmas holidays. In 2020, The Queen and Prince Philip spent the holiday apart from other family members at Windsor Castle. The next year, Prince Philip had passed but The Queen was able to be joined at Windsor by Charles and Camilla (the then Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall.) The plan was to return to Sandringham but the plan was ditched after coronavirus cases began to rise again.

In exception to the pandemic, every Christmas since 1988 has been spent at the country manor. The home has been the private home of British monarchs for more than 160 years. Prior to 1988, the holiday was spent at Windsor Castle.

About author

My name is Sydney Zatz and I am a University of Iowa graduate. I graduated with a degree in journalism and sports studies, and a minor in sport and recreation management. A highlight of my college career was getting the chance to study abroad in London and experiencing royal history firsthand. I have a passion for royals, royal history, and journalism, which led me to want to write for Royal Central.