One of the main focuses of the Christmas period is the importance of spending time with people who you care about, whether they’re close friends, family members or partners.

This goes for individuals from all walks of life, and the royal family is no different.

On Christmas Day the royal family, led by its matriarch the Queen, takes part in a number of annual traditions, including their ritual visit to St Mary Magdalene Church in Sandringham and a group viewing of the monarch’s televised Christmas message.

Some of their traditions have evolved over the years to keep up with the changing times, while others have been established for forever and a day.

This year will be the second time the Duchess of Sussex has been a part of the royal festivities, having joined the proceedings last year as Prince Harry’s fiancée.

From a hearty breakfast before church to an evening of games enjoyed by the whole family, here’s how the royal family will be spending their Christmas:

(c) Instagram

The night before

On Christmas Eve, the royal family exchange and open their presents.

While most families may give out their gifts on Christmas Day, the royal family does so a day earlier in keeping with German tradition, former royal chef Darren McGrady explains.

“The royals are of German descent so they weave in German traditions to their celebrations,” he tells the Express. 

“After afternoon tea, they open gifts on Christmas Eve, as is the German tradition.”

The family exchange their presents in the afternoon on 24 December, as outlined on the official royal website.

“On Christmas Eve, the royal family lay out their presents on trestle tables and will exchange their gifts at teatime,” it states.

It’s supposedly tradition for the royal family to gift each other joke presents.

“They enjoy a bit of a giggle – they have a tremendous sense of humour,” saysAlexandra Messervy, former employee of the royal household.

In 2013 Prince Harry gave his grandmother a shower cap with the slogan: “Ain’t Life a B****” written across it, royal biography Brian Hoey revealed.

Princess Diana wasn’t aware of the joke present tradition for her first Christmas with the royal family, resulting in her purchasing expensive cashmere jumpers and mohair scarves for everyone.

The dress code for dinner at Sandringham on Christmas Eve is black tie.

Wake up and smell the fry up

What better way to wake up on Christmas Day than with the knowledge you have a delicious breakfast waiting for you?

On the morning of 25 December, the male members of the royal family head downstairs for an English fry-up, McGrady writes for the Daily Mail.

This meal includes eggs, bacon, mushrooms and kippers, while the women are typically served a breakfast consisting of fruit, toast and coffee in their rooms.

Time for church

The royal family’s venture to St. Mary Magdalene Church in Sandringham for the Christmas Day service is a much-publicised event, with many members of the public arriving earlier than the royals so they can try to catch a glimpse of them.

Last year spectator Karen Anvil hit the jackpot when she took an iconic photo of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex and Duke and Duchess of Cambridge walking alongside one another.

The photo has since been featured by news outlets around the world and has provided Anvil with a steady income that she’s using to support her daughter’s nursing education.

At 11am on 25 December the royal family walk to the church, which dates back to the 16th Century.

Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis are yet to attend a Sandringham Christmas Day church service.

However, with Prince George now five years old, there’s a possibility he may make an appearance at the service this year.

Festive feast

At 1pm after the church service, the royal family are seated for their Christmas lunch.

They’re served a traditional feast, including festive foods such as turkey, mashed and roast potatoes, stuffing, cranberry sauce and Brussels sprouts, says McGrady.

The Christmas pudding is brought into the room at 2pm, and is served with brandy butter and brandy sauce.

Prior to Christmas Day, the royal family also get together for an early festive gathering.

On 19 December 2018, the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh hosted a Christmas lunch at Buckingham Palace.

The occasion gives the monarch the opportunity to celebrate Christmas with members of the family who aren’t joining her in Sandringham.

Guests included Zara Tindall, Princess Anne and Lady Louise Windsor.

The Queen on the small screen

After lunch, the royal family sit down with one another to watch the Queen’s annual Christmas broadcast.

The first ever royal Christmas broadcast was delivered by King George V in 1932.

In 1957, the Queen became the first British monarch to deliver a televised Christmas speech, which was recorded live from the Long Library in the Sandringham estate.

“Twenty-five years ago my grandfather broadcast the first of these Christmas messages. Today is another landmark because television has made it possible for many of you to see me in your homes on Christmas Day,” she said during her message that year.

The Queen’s speech, which is now pre-recorded, is reportedly the only TV the royal family watch on Christmas Day.

In this year’s broadcast, the Queen will state the Christian message of “peace on earth and goodwill to all” is “needed as much as ever”.

(c) Instagram

Royal game night

The royal family enjoy partaking in light-hearted fun during Christmas.

According to Messervy, they enjoy playing one game in particular.

“They’re great fans of Charades. They’ve always played Charades”, she tellsYahoo Style UK.

Messervy also revealed that over the years Prince Harry and Prince William have taken part in a household football match with staff at Sandringham.

Boxing Day antics

It’s traditional for the royal family to embark on a pheasant shoot on Boxing Day, which is held on the Sandringham estate.

It was recently alleged the Duchess of Sussex had asked her husband not to join in the activity.

However, these reports were denied by a palace source, who told the Daily Mail it’s “completely untrue that Her Royal Highness has banned the Duke from shooting.”

Prince Harry has taken part in the post-Christmas hunting event since he was 12 years old.

-The Independent 

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