Royal Holiday Traditions

Maybe its just the old lady in me, but I love hearing about what people do during the holiday season.

Everyone has their own version of classic traditions and it’s fun to hear about it. Plus, seeing everyone’s Christmas decorations are always heartwarming to see. Which got me thinking, what does someone with a lot of money and political power do during this time of year? Someone like Queen Elizabeth or even the royal family in general.

The royal family

My expectation, as an American who doesn’t keep up with the royal family outside of the weddings, was that there was huge parties filled with opulence and Christmas cheer. I wasn’t not not wrong.

1. They write Christmas cards early. Like, very early. Apparently, during her summer vacation, the Queen starts signing her Christmas cards. To be fair, I get it. She has to send out roughly 800 cards to politicians, friends, family members, etc. It’s a lot of work and she’s just being a smart business woman and getting it done in her free time. I respect it.

The Sandringham Estate in Norfolk

2. They have a house to celebrate Christmas in! During the holiday season, most of the royals go to their Sandringham Estate in Norfolk. They’ve owned the estate since 1862. The Queen even gave both couples, Will and Kate then Harry, and Meghan, their own properties on the estate: Anmer hall and York Cottage.

3. But there is a order on when they can arrive! This is the saddest and funniest thing I’ve read in a while, but basically there is an order on who arrives first and last. The Crown Equerry, who plans the royal Christmas events, has a rule that the arrive time of royal family members should dictated by their status in the family. For example, the junior members show up first and the senior members (Kate, Will, Prince Charles, Meghan, Harry, etc) show up last. Basically the irrelevant members show up first, and the important ones show up last.

4. The Queen likes to shop! The Queen used to have stores like Harrods stay open after hours so she could shop for Christmas gifts in peace and within her schedule. An underrated royal perk. However, due to increasing security measures, she now shops online or through mail-order-catalogs for gifts.

5. They give out interesting gifts! They’re a quirky family and I think we should all leave it at that. According to royal biographer, Brian Hoey, Prince Harry gave Queen Elizabeth a shower cap that said “Ain’t Life a Bitch?” in 2013. Also, before Prince Harry was married, Kate Middleton and Prince Williams gave Harry a Grow Your Own Girlfriend kit and Gucci loafers because “all of his shoes have holes in them.”

6. They open gifts on Christmas eve! For the royal family, presents are exchanged on Christmas eve at ‘tea-time’. They also have a rule that they can’t open their gifts until Prince Philip says they can.

7. It’s the Queens world and we’re all just living in it! While most of the family leaves after the holidays are over, the Queen doesn’t. It’s reported that she stays in their estate till the first week of February. She also insists that the Christmas decorations remain up till she leaves. So, technically, the holidays last until the first week of February for the royal family.

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