15 Holiday Traditions of the British Royal Family During the Queen’s Reign

It’s the season for family gatherings, festive markets, and cookie exchanges — and wondering exactly how these wealthy royals spend the holidays.

As it turns out, the House of Windsor has had more than their share of quirky and unusual Christmas traditions that will leave you scratching your head. From gut-breaking gifts and no-garlic bans to proper teacup etiquette and shocking weight-loss before and after dinner (yes, really!), we’ve unearthed some of the more bizarre “holiday commandments” the royal family followed during Queen Elizabeth II’s reign.

You must…attend the annual feast luncheon

A week before Christmas, Queen Elizabeth would host an annual luncheon at Buckingham Palace for all of her extended family. Exclusive guest list Which usually total more than 50 people.

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Although she gave out lavish invitations early on, woe to anyone who turned down the generous offer to spend an afternoon balancing teacups while mingling with a plethora of faces only seen once a year. Little is known about the top-secret event (no photography was allowed), leaving royal observers and British newspapers to speculate about what really happened behind those gilded gates.

See also: Of all the dog breeds that royals are most interested in, go beyond corgis.

You will spend Christmas at Sandringham

If you think preparing a Christmas turkey for your holiday feast is stressful, how do you think the royal chefs feel? Christmas week at Sandringham House, on the grounds of what is now King Charles’ Norfolk estate, is an absolute must – although a rare exception is sometimes granted.

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Once upon a time, close family was not allowed to spend Christmas away from Sandringham. Just ask Diana, Princess of Wales, who didn’t get to spend her wonderful day with her Spencer clan. However, in recent years, the Queen has allowed some wiggle room, allowing Prince William and Duchess Kate to visit the Middletons in 2014.

See also: 10 strange rules that royal children must follow.

You have to buy gifts worthy of a mask

Set aside any preconceived notions you may have about the kinds of gifts the royal family buys each other over the holidays. As it turns out, it’s all about a good gag. On Christmas Eve, the Windsors put their presents on a table and exchange them for piping hot tea.

the topic? Cheap, cheerful and complete fun.

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That’s right – as a way to dispose of their wealth and avoid flaunting it, the The royal family buys gag gifts for each other rather than expensive items. A few years ago, Kate bought Harry a then-single “Grow Your Own Girlfriend,” while Prince bought his beloved grandmother a shower cap with “Ain’t Life a B*tch” printed across the top.

Oh, I was a fly on the wall when the Queen opened that gift.

Related: The most beautiful royal wedding dresses and their cost.

You’ll… walk to church on Christmas morning

It is something of an annual tradition for Norfolk locals to line the streets leading to St Mary Magdalene’s Church on the Sandringham estate to catch a glimpse of the royal family as they walk to Christmas morning services.

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The Clan Windsor – minus the little children – walk all the way, greeting the royal observers along the way, except for the Queen, who will promptly arrive at the door of the chapel via car.

The 2017 service, in particular, was big for royal fans as it was the first time that Meghan, who is not yet a Duchess, has bowed to the Queen in public. Naturally, he was dissected by the media for days afterward. A few things the former actor needed to remember: Curves must not touch the floor; You simply put one leg behind the other, letting your knees gently bend and your head slightly bowed. (Markle named him, for the record.)

You may also like: 6 ways Princess Diana and Meghan Markle are more alike than you think.

You must…always dress formally

This really shouldn’t come as a surprise, but it still needs to be said: There’s no break in PJs — not even on Christmas morning. (Our sympathies are with the little ones – George, Charlotte and Louis). The whole family is expected as well Ready-to-wear For all Christmas festivities, from the morning church service to the evening’s formal dinner. Humility first, while still being trendy.

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See also: From heels to hats: 10 fashion rules the royals must follow.

You must … weigh yourself before and after dinner

This is not a joke, friends. according to Royal expert and majesty Editor in Chief, Ingrid StewartEach member of the royal family is weighed before and after Christmas dinner. (We’ll give you a moment to let this pass.) It appears to be a tradition that dates back to the early 20th century during the reign of King Edward VII who, as a way of determining whether or not his guests had been fed enough, asked them all to step on the scales.

Given the fact that the Windsors enjoy three huge meals throughout Christmas Day, the scale seems more than a bit excessive. Some traditions never age well.

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Parlez-vous français?

The Queen was fluent in French and preferred to use it at all state dinners. This means that Presumably, the Christmas dinner menu was printed in French, like that. There is no word on whether Kate or Meghan was aware of the language when they spent their first Christmas with the royal family.

See also: Meghan Markle and the struggles among black women everywhere.

Don’t eat garlic

We all have those foods or spices that we just can’t stand, whether it’s because of the taste or the texture. However, Queen Elizabeth had one intense dislike that also happened to be a common cooking ingredient: garlic. As former royal chef John Higgins said the National Post in 2016They’re missing garlic because you at Buckingham Palace don’t cook with garlic. I suppose, in case you get a “royal burp.” The real reason, according to reports? The Queen hated the smell.

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Related: Each time Harry and Meghan have been real about their mental health.

You’ll…stop eating as soon as Her Majesty’s finished

One of the great things about being a queen is that when it comes to meals, you set the pace. During meals, when Queen Elizabeth took her last bite, she said She will reportedly put a thorn quietly and everyone will have to follow her leadwhether they finished their food or not. We imagine this must have been a struggle for the majority of her guests.

Related: Famous royal hairstyles through the years.

You have to…fold the napkin in half

When at the table, napkins should be folded in half at all times to avoid unsightly stains and bits of food. The members of the royal family are They are expected to gently wipe their mouths and hands inside the fold of their handkerchiefs. Doing otherwise would risk dirty clothes – gasp! – and paper napkins stained with an assortment of less-than-appetizing food stains. Out of sight, out of thought.

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I shouldn’t… play Monopoly

During the holiday, the The royals will enjoy exciting charades games. Queen Elizabeth loved it so much that no one else would be allowed to retire from the room until she finished playing. But there is one game, in particular, that has been banned outright – monopoly.

Yes, that board game where you collect real estate and “get out of jail free” cards. the reason? In the past, the competition became so intense and heated that the Queen banished her. What we want to know is who the guilty party was.

You have to… use the utensils correctly

The majority of us don’t usually spend time thinking about how our food will be cut during a meal, but the royals take their dining etiquette very seriously. Regardless of whether you are right-handed or left-handed, you should hold knives with your right and forks with your left (with the teeth pointing down, of course). It doesn’t end there: once you cut into a piece of food, it’s done It should be balanced on the back of the forkinstead of stabbing him with snoods.

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See also: The most charming castles in the world.

You have to… follow the leader

Doorways are an important factor in the Windsor family hierarchy, and Commands choose precedence nailed down to exact science. Naturally, the procession would begin with the queen and continue with the order of those next in line for the throne. For example, before his death in April 2021, Prince Philip never entered a room at his wife’s side – he was always a few steps behind her during all public and official events.

Now, King Charles will be the head of the group.

You have to … drink tea properly

Yes, there’s a right way to hold a teacup and saucer — and yes, that means you’ve probably been doing it wrong. As said by etiquette expert Micah Meyer PeopleThe king is expected to use his thumb and index finger to hold the top of the handle, with the middle finger gently supporting the bottom of the cup. Keep those pinkies tucked in! Plus, women have an extra rule to abide by — one has to sip from the exact same spot to avoid lipstick smudges around the rim.

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Related: Prince Harry is ready to spill (more) tea with a new memoir.

You shouldn’t be taking off your Christmas decor until February

Although most of Queen Elizabeth’s guests would start leaving Sandringham House after Boxing Day, the Queen reportedly continued to feel festive until the second week of February. Although this may seem strange to some, there is a really poignant reason why the Queen wanted to keep the tree and decorations for an extra month and a half.

Her father, King George VI, died on February 6, 1952, and it was her way of remembering him during the festive season before returning to London for the year.

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