There are some royal family traditions that seem to be set in stone, while others are open to evolving with the addition of new family members and a growing group of younger royals, but while several people, including commoners, have married into the family over the last several years, Queen Elizabeth still runs a tight ship.
Express says that for years, the core members of the royal family, especially those in the line of succession, were expected to spend Christmas at the side of the monarch, but there are indications that this year, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge might be “breaking away” to spend Christmas Day with the Middleton side of the family.
The royal tradition has the family spending the holiday with the queen at her Sandringham estate in Norfolk for a country Christmas, but in the 1960s when most of Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip’s children were young, they tended to celebrate the holiday at Windsor.
But some of the hard and fast traditions still followed today started long before Queen Elizabeth was born.
It was German-born Queen Charlotte (the princess’ namesake) which is said to have introduced the Christmas tree tradition to the royal family, which later spread to the rest of the world after the enthusiastic adaptation by Queen Victoria. The trees are put up in early December with decorations, and the royal family put the finishing touches on for Christmas Eve.
Even the royals have a Christmas Day evening buffet https://t.co/Zk3PmMLZ1h
— Tatler (@Tatlermagazine) November 26, 2018
The royal family tradition is not to open presents on Christmas Day, but rather on Christmas Eve at tea time. The family exchanges gifts with each other — there’s no mention of Santa or Father Christmas — which are laid out on trestle tables.
But Queen Elizabeth will hand out gifts personally to several members of the royal household at Buckingham Palace and Windsor, and approximately 1,500 Christmas puddings will be distributed to other members of staff along with a Christmas card from the monarch herself.
Before the Christmas Day feast, the royal family will make a trip to church as a group for a morning service at St. Mary Magdalene in Sandringham.
The family will then return to the Sandringham Estate for a buffet lunch, but this year Prince William, Kate Middleton, and the children are thought to be attending Christmas Day lunch in Buckleberry with the Middletons.
Carole Middleton recently shared her plans for Christmas 2018, in which she indicated the Cambridge children would be attending.
“Generally, we got to church in the morning, then a walk, open a few presents, with more in the evening. Then champagne and smoked salmon for lunch, and the main Christmas meal in the evening – but with young grandchildren, maybe we’ll move that forward and have it at lunchtime.”
The other change for Christmas 2018 is the invitation of Meghan Markle’s mother, Doria Ragland, to the royal family holiday celebration.