Every family has their own traditions at Christmas time, but sometimes we can’t help comparing ourselves to other people, wondering who’s got the bigger turkey, brighter lights, or the most presents. It’s just human nature!
So when it comes to the Royal Family, surely they must be dining on gold plates, eating caviar, and sipping on $1,000 bottles of champagne, right? Well, it turns out that our assumptions couldn’t be further from the truth.
According to Darren McGrady, who is a former royal chef, the whole affair is rather modest – although the Queen does have a silver Christmas tree, but to be fair to the monarch, it’s actually about 30 years old!
The rest of the decor is minimalist to suit the Queen’s usual tastes and also includes a more traditional tree. The holiday is celebrated over two days at the private residence of Sandringham House in Norfolk.
The Queen and Prince Phillip will go up to their country home a week in advance, with guests arriving in order of precedence on the 23rd. Prince Charles will usually be last to arrive. The event is for family only, and this year will be very special as Prince Harry’s new fiancé Meghan Markle is attending – spending Christmas with her soon-to-be in-laws for the first time.
Kate Middleton, however, was not invited to the Royal Family’s Christmas celebrations after her engagement to William was announced. While the royal couple does attend now, they will spend Christmas night at their own residence, Anmer Hall, which is just down the road.
Presents are opened on Christmas Eve in the red drawing room, just after afternoon tea, as per the German tradition. However, the gifts are unlikely to be lavish. After all, what do you get the family who has everything?
Well, the royals tend to give each other gag-gifts or small humorous items.
But what about the food? The Queen is a stickler for tradition, so the family eats a full English breakfast before heading off to church.
McGrady has shared a picture of the Sandringham dinner table from a few years back below.
Then there is a traditional Christmas dinner, complete with turkey and all the trimmings. The Queen has insisted on the exact same meal year after year. Of course, she doesn’t have to spend all day cooking it herself.
“After church, that’s when they have a big lunch that includes a salad with shrimp or lobster, and a roasted turkey, and all of your traditional side dishes like parsnips, carrots, brussels sprouts and Christmas pudding with brandy butter for dessert,” McGrady revealed.
However, in the evening, there is apparently a huge buffet with chefs at carving stations and around 20 different self-serve items. There is also always something containing chocolate since it’s the Queen’s favorite sweet treat.
“The Queen is a major chocoholic, particularly dark chocolate, so she always has a chocolate treat on Christmas. She also loves mint,” McGrady added.
Just when you were thinking the Royal Family might not be so different from yours with their turkey dinner and Christmas tree, they always do something that I guarantee your family never does.
They all sit down to watch the Queen give her annual Christmas speech. That’s got to be a little weird, right?
If you can’t get enough royal glamour, check out this video of the Belgian Royal Family all decked out in their party clothes for a holiday concert in their palace’s throne room.
Hmm… I wonder if the Belgian Royal Family has brussels sprouts with their Christmas dinner too.