Every family has their own personal festive traditions, and the British royals are no exception.
But while they naturally have more official protocols to follow than most, according to a new documentary the Queen and her relatives also implement a few customs that are actually pretty relatable – especially when it comes to Christmas Eve.
Sandringham: The Queen at Christmas, a documentary which aired on Channel 5 earlier this week, broke down exactly how the royals celebrate Christmas Eve when they’re all together at Her Majesty’s estate, from the food and drink down to the gifts that are exchanged.
After attending a church carol service at St Mary Magdalene Church, the festivities at home kick off at 6pm with the swapping of presents – which the royals do on Christmas Eve rather than Christmas Day, as a nod to their Germanic descent through Queen Victoria’s husband Prince Albert.
But rather than going thoughtful and tasteful as one might expect, Kate, William, Harry and Meghan will spend 24th December trying to outdo each other using the mantra of ‘the jokier the better.’
Apparently, Prince Harry once gave William a comb, as a cheeky reference to his brother’s thinner head of hair, while Kate is said to have purchased Harry a ‘Grow Your Own Girlfriend’ kit in the days before Meghan joined the group.
Even the Queen has been a recipient of a ‘Big Mouth Billie Bass’ singing fish in previous years, which is something we’d love to see hanging on the walls at Buckingham Palace if we were ever allowed a sneak peek.
Once everything’s unwrapped, there’s a drinks reception. ‘I think the Queen likes a martini, other people would rather have champagne,’ royal biographer Ingrid Seward said on the show. ‘The drinks are very strong. So any one that’s a guest would be knocked out by these drinks.’
The assembled group then enjoys a six-course feast, which can go on until the wee hours. ‘Of course nobody goes to bed before the Queen, and of course when Princess Margaret was alive nobody went to bed before her either. So that meant two or three o’clock in the morning.
‘There was a lot of singing and if someone plays the piano well, like Princess Margaret did, they will be very popular.’
Sounds like a jolly good knees-up to us.