Royal Family Holiday Traditions: From Strange to Incredibly Sweet

Madison Breaux | Dec 6, 2018 Celebrities
Image: Splash News

Meghan Markle Kate Middleton Prince William Prince Harry
Splash News

Each family has its own special holiday traditions that can't be forgotten around Christmas, and the royal family is no different. While their traditions involve palaces, high fashion, and hundreds of paparazzi, they're still celebrating the same thing -- Christmas. But that doesn't mean they don't do things a little differently than the rest of us. When the royal family is involved with anything, it's pretty much a given that there's going to be about a hundred rules and protocols to follow. But in the spirit of the season, a lot of the royal holiday traditions are just flat-out pure fun. It is Christmas, after all!

And during the holiday season, even the royal family can let loose a little bit! Some of their Christmas traditions are a little strange and unique to them, but others are things most people do during the holidays! We think we can all agree that eating a large amount of food is enough to unite any family on Christmas ... even those with official royal titles.

From sending out holiday cards to cozying up with a good movie, the royal family is just like any other family once the calendar hits December. Sure, their holiday festivities are little more publicized than most, but well, that's the business of being a royal. 

We're all wondering how the most famous family in the world spends the holiday, so here are all of the royal crew's special holiday traditions. Some of these are extremely familiar, while others, well ... let's just say Meghan Markle is in for a few surprises this season. 

  • The Church Service

    Splash News

    The royal family attends a service on Christmas morning at St. Mary Magdalene, and then after that, they attend another public service at 11 a.m. It's a busy day for the royals.

  • The Holiday Weigh-In

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    Well ... this one is interesting. The royals have this interesting tradition of getting weighed before and after Christmas dinner to make sure that all of the guests are eating enough. This reportedly dates back to King Edward VII's reign, so who's gonna say they should stop now?

  • The Christmas Broadcast

    Splash News

    Every year, Queen Elizabeth gives her Christmas broadcast, which has been a holiday tradition for decades. Fans of The Crown will know that Queen Lizzie was the first to televise the broadcast, and we're sure this practice won't end with her.

  • Charades With the Queen

    Splash News

    Queen Elizabeth loves playing charades with the family at Christmastime, but royal members be warned ... the monarch does not like to lose. 

  • The Queen's Train Ride to Sandringham

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    The royal family typically spends Christmas at Sandringham, the queen's house in Norfolk, and how does the monarch get there? She takes the train, of course.

  • The Christmas Walk

    Splash News

    The royal family is always on full display when they make their walk to their Christmas Day church service. Last year, we got to see the new dynamic duo in action. 

  • Corny Cracker Jokes

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    Queen Elizabeth is apparently a huge fan of reading the jokes that come inside traditional British Christmas crackers

  • Giving Back

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    The royal family is charitable all year, but during the holiday season they especially help out the charities and organizations they support. It is the season of giving!

  • Christmas Cards


    Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip send out roughly 750 Christmas cards each year with a family photo. The queen apparently starts signing them while she's on summer vacation, because there's nothing like getting a head start, right?

  • Christmas Tea

    Splash News

    After the Christmas Eve family soccer match ends, the royals gather for tea (because, of course), and this is when the little ones get to put the finishing touches on the Christmas tree.

  • Gifts on Christmas Eve

    Splash News

    Presents are exchanged on Christmas Eve. All the gifts are laid out on the tables and given out during teatime. 

  • Joke Gifts

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    And instead of getting each other extravagant presents, the royals opt for more gag-type gifts that are good for a laugh. Prince Harry reportedly gave Queen Elizabeth a shower cap that had "Ain't Life a B*tch" written on it, and we're just going to go ahead and hope that she uses it every day.

  • Personal Gifts From the Queen

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    According to palace's website, Queen Elizabeth personally hands out her gifts to all the members of the royal family. 

  • Will & Harry's Soccer Match

    Splash News

    The two prince brothers reportedly square up for a game of soccer (football, for those in the UK) on Christmas Eve on the Sandringham Estate. And then, of course, they have to go get cleaned up to look presentable for the queen.

  • Decorating the Tree

    Splash News

    Yes, the royals do decorate their own Christmas tree! Now, the palaces definitely have more than one tree in each, but the family does make it a point to hold on to this normal holiday tradition.

  • They Eat Hearty Meals


    Aaaand the menus are apparently written in French, so if you're going to be attending Christmas Day meals with the royals, you better brush up on your francais. 

  • Decorations Stay Up Until February

    Splash News

    Yup -- the dear Queen Elizabeth reportedly leaves her Christmas decorations up until February, because the holiday spirit does last just one month, people!

  • Pudding for the Staff

    Splash News

    A tradition started by her father, King George VI, Christmas pudding is given to the staff, and each gift also includes a greeting card from the queen and Prince Philip themselves.

  • Movie Time

    Splash News

    After they go into their food comas, the royals go down into the ballroom at Sandringham and cozy up for a projected movie.

  • Black-Tie Dinner on Christmas Eve

    Splash News

    The entire royal family assembles the quite the affair on Christmas Eve. Cocktails are served, and it is even said that brothers Will and Harry enjoy the cider that is produced on the premises. 

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