It’s no secret that the royal family have strict rules to follow, be it the way they behave in public (and in front of the Queen) or their wardrobe choices. Traditional protocol has meant some things are strictly off-limits for Her Majesty and her family – including guidelines on what they get each other for Christmas, and when they’re allowed to open their presents.
It has been reported that the royal family have a Christmas tradition that dates back decades and you won’t believe how normal it is. As requested by the Queen, the family are only allowed to buy each other joke presents, and the cheaper they are, the better. We know, it probably sounds just like your office Secret Santa.
Every year, the royal family sit down at precisely 6pm on Christmas Eve in the red drawing room at Sandringham to open their gifts, which they have sneakily placed in the room earlier that afternoon.
According to the Express, former royal chef Darren McGrady said: ‘The royals are of German descent so they weave in German traditions to their celebrations. After afternoon tea, they open gifts on Christmas Eve, as is the German tradition.’
Obviously, present giving among the royal family doesn’t just consist of wrapping up the gifts and leaving them under the tree. Instead, presents are placed on a white linen-covered trestle table in the red drawing room, with cards marking out sections for each family member and any of the Queen’s household who is on duty during the festive days.
Once the gifts are placed and everyone is seated, the family members must wait for Prince Phillip, who is in charge of supervising the proceedings every year, to give them permission before opening any presents.
And yes, everyone receives a present from the Queen, including all members of the royal household.
The family, who all dress up in black tie for the intimate Christmas dinner, also gift over 1,500 Christmas puddings to palace staff, which is a tradition introduced by her father, King George VI and her grandfather George V.