This is how the royal families celebrate Christmas

It is the season of festivities and rejoicing. Preparations are in full swing with streets, houses, shopping malls and all other places decorated to welcome Christmas.

Whether it’s feasting and exchanging gifts, decorating the Christmas tree, visiting friends and family and being generous, we all have our own way of celebrating this merry holiday.

This is also the case with some royal families around the world. While adhering to ancient traditions, decorating their lavish residences and Christmas trees, and sending signed Christmas cards, many royal families also show their generosity to the people of their country by hosting children’s parties and passing by. vacations with loved ones.

From the royal families of Great Britain and Norway to those of Spain and Belgium, here’s how they spend Christmas.

The British Royal Family

Image credit: The Royal Family / Instagram

Each year the British Royal Family gather at the Queen’s Estate in Norfolk – Sandringham House – for Christmas and New Years.

On December 25, members of the royal family attend the morning service at Sainte-Madeleine Church, and traditions say that only married women can join the service. The only exception was made for Meghan Markle in 2017. The Duchess of Sussex and Prince Harry spent Christmas with Markle’s mother in California, United States, in 2019.

Most of the royal celebrations leading up to the New Year take place in the Great Norfolk Estate. The Queen, along with the late Prince Philip, are reportedly sending over 750 Christmas cards to friends, family, UK government officials and members of the Royal Household. The royal Christmas card featured a family photo and was signed “Elizabeth R” and “Philip” with their official codes.

Additionally, the Queen’s pre-recorded Christmas Speech is aired on Christmas Day at 3 p.m. each year, a tradition that was started by her grandfather, King George V, in 1932 and has been a staple in the traditions of British Royal Christmases.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prince William and Kate are also sending their personal cards.

Christmas tree at Buckingham Palace
Image credit: The Royal Family / Instagram

When it comes to feasting, royals enjoy a hearty and sumptuous dinner. Roast turkey, cookies and good old gingerbread are essential. The palace staff are treated to delicious puddings. The Queen pays more than 1,500 puddings, which are distributed to all palace staff, including palace police and those at the court post office.

Many gifts are given to family and staff on Christmas Eve. The gifts are placed on trestle tables to be exchanged with the family at tea time. However, the Queen personally distributes gifts to the children.

Preparations for this year’s Christmas at Buckingham Palace are underway. Although the Queen is under the strict supervision of medics who have asked her to rest, the whole family will gather at Sandringham House.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are also planning to visit the UK with their children Archie and Lilibet.

The Norwegian Royal Family

Norwegian royal family
Image credit: Kongehuset / Facebook

The mix of traditional Norwegian Christmas customs with those of Sweden, Denmark and the United Kingdom gives a unique atmosphere to Christmas celebrations at the Royal Palace in Oslo.

Instead of celebrating the day at the palace, King Harald and Queen Sonja head to “Kongsseteren”, also known as “King’s Shieling” or The Royal Lodge, in Holmenkollen. The private residence is the perfect place for the monarch to celebrate the festivities.

The Royal Family, including Crown Prince Haakon, Crown Princess Mette-Marit and their children, Princess Ingrid Alexandra and Prince Sverre Magnus, usually celebrate Christmas at the Royal Lodge.

The Royal Family meets at the Royal Palace every year for a Christmas photo, and Princess Ingrid and Prince Sverre usually help decorate the Christmas tree there. Princess Märtha Louise, who is the eldest child of the King and Queen, also meets for the family photo, which is used in official Christmas cards.

Christmas lunch is a big deal. Continuing the King’s Danish heritage, the family feast on grilled baby pork, introduced by King Haakon VII, King Harald’s grandfather.

In the pre-COVID-19 era, large concerts were held at the Royal Palace as part of a mega event. In 2011, the family invited a host of Norwegian artists to perform in the Palace Chapel, which was broadcast on television. Last year, the King and Queen isolated themselves in the palace.

Fun fact: Since 1947, Norway has sent the UK a large Christmas tree over 65 feet tall every year, and it lights up Trafalgar Square. According to the London Embassy, ​​this is a tribute to Britain’s support for Norway during WWII.

The Dutch Royal Family

Dutch royal family
Image credit: Koninklijk Huis / Instagram

When Christmas follows a traditional Aboriginal holiday, the celebrations take on even greater magnitude.

Christmas for the Dutch royal family is a rather busy time. King Willem-Alexander and his three daughters, Princesses Alexia, Catharina-Amalia and Princess Ariadne, travel to Queen Máxima’s hometown in Argentina.

The family usually stays at the beautiful Villa La Angostura in Buenos Aires and visits the local sites. However, like everyone else, even these members of the royal family have been affected by the pandemic. King Willem canceled his travel plans for 2020 and was in the Netherlands with his family for the festivities.

Dutch royal family
Image credit: Koninklijk Huis / Instagram

The exchange of gifts does not take place exactly on Christmas, but during the first week of the month during the “Sinterklaas” celebrations, which take place on St. Nicholas Day. Although that is changing and the family indulges in the exchange of gifts on Christmas Day. Like Queen Elizabeth II, King Willem pre-records his Christmas speech, which airs on the State Channel.

The Netherlands observes the official public holidays on December 25 and 26, known as the first and second day of Christmas, respectively.

The Monegasque royal family

Christmas for the Monegasque royal family
Image Credit: HSH Princess Charlene / Instagram

Nestled along the beautiful coastline that borders France, Monaco is in itself a postcard place, and the Christmas traditions of the Monegasque royal family are filled with fun and festive fervor.

Prince Albert II, Head of House Grimaldi, and his wife Princess Charlene are celebrating Christmas with a tradition his mother, Princess Grace Kelly, started almost 60 years ago.

Children aged 5 to 12 are invited to a Christmas party at the Palais de Monaco. Indeed, Prince Albert II wore a festive tie for the occasion and is also known to dress up as Santa Claus for the holiday. The royal couple, accompanied by their two children, Prince Jacques and Princess Gabriella, join the party.

In addition, the Christmas celebrations are punctuated by many activities, including the circus, magic shows and Disney cartoon screenings. Children can talk and interact with the ruling monarch.

The Spanish Royal Family

Christmas of the Spanish Royal Family

If intimate and warm family celebrations are what you have in mind for Christmas, Spain’s royal family does it like no other.

Handwritten cards for all your loved ones are published with the signatures of King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia.

Spanish royal family Christmas card
Image credit: © Casa de SM el Rey / Royal Central

Their daughters, Princess Leanor and Princess Sofia, wake up to find beautiful gifts under the Christmas tree, then the family has a big Christmas lunch at Zarzuela Palace with the parents of King Felipe, King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia.

Like British royal traditions, King Felipe’s Christmas message is pre-recorded and played on Christmas Day. The day is usually followed by a family lunch.

The royal family’s festivities continue until a few days after the New Year, which ends with an Epiphany on January 5.

The Belgian royal family

Christmas of the Belgian royal family
Image credit: Michel Gronemberger / Belgian Royal Palace / Instagram

A rich cultural tradition fused with music and other festivities is what the December holidays are for the Belgian royal family. The beautiful country lights up and dazzles at Christmas and the royal festivities add to the merriment.

As a rule, Christmas Eve is celebrated with the doors of the palace open for a great Christmas concert hosted by King Philippe and his wife Queen Mathilde. Their children – Princess Elisabeth, Prince Gabriel, Princess Eleanor and Prince Emmanuel – also participate in the musical evening. The Royal Symphony Orchestra of Belgian Guides offered a scintillating performance, which is broadcast live.

The youngest of the royal family, Princess Eleanor, fulfills an essential traditional duty of accepting the “light of peace” from a Scout. The tradition dates back to 1986 when the Austrian broadcasting company founded the “Light of Peace of Bethlehem” as a Christmas tradition to remind everyone of the message of peace of the Nativity of Christ. A specially chosen child receives the light from the holy place, and then it is carefully distributed to various countries, not only by person but also by various organizations like the Boy Scouts. Belgium joined the list in 2018 and since then light has been brought to the country as a custom.

On December 7, 2020, the Scala Choir performed in the richly decorated Royal Throne Hall of the Royal Palace in Brussels with Princess Eleanor on violin and Prince Emmanuel on saxophone. Published photographs showed the choir was masked and physical distance was the highest priority due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, members of the Scala choir were seen separated by barriers.

(Main image credit: GLYN KIRK / POOL / AFP; Photo credit: The Royal Family / Instagram)

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