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British Royals

When it comes to Christmas gifts, the Royal Family are just like the rest of us

Millions of families across the world exchange holiday gifts and the Royal Family is no exception. In fact, their gifts might be a little more silly than the ones you’re giving to your loved ones.

Every year on Christmas Eve, members of the Royal Family gather at Sandringham where they exchange presents after afternoon tea. The exchange happens on Christmas Eve rather than Christmas Day as a nod to the family’s German ancestry. The exchange is said to happen in the Red Drawing Room at 6 p.m. where the gifts have already been secretly laid out for each family member.

While we see occasional instances of cheekiness and banter between members of the Royal Family, the gift exchange is where all is let loose behind closed doors. It’s reported that one year The Princess Royal gave her brother, then-Prince Charles, a leather toilet seat. Diana, Princess of Wales kept with the bathroom-themed gifts and gave her then sister-in-law, Sarah, Duchess of York a leopard bath mat. During her first royal Christmas, she did make a faux pas as she gave The Princess Royal a cashmere sweater, unaware of the white elephant exchange.

Prince Harry reportedly gave his grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II, a shower cap one year that read “Ain’t Life a B****” across the front and a singing mounted fish. His brother, Prince William, didn’t shy away when giving his grandmother a silly gift either. He Is said to have gifted his late grandmother a pair of slippers with her face on it. Whether or not he got them at a tourist shop in London has not been revealed. But she likely wasn’t the only one in the nation with slippers like that.

All jokes aside, the family is also a fan of sentimental gifts. The Princess of Wales is known to be particularly fond of the idea. During one of her first Christmases with the Royal Family, she made The Queen some chutney using her own grandmother’s recipe.

A handmade gift can have a lot of meaning and be of little cost. Although the royals end up buying cheaper presents for themselves, the bill adds up. Queen Elizabeth II used to buy 620 gifts for family and staff in addition to gifting 1,500 Christmas puddings. In the end, it roughly equates to about £30,000. That’s a whole lot of pudding!

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.