Everything about being a member of a royal family is built around tradition, pomp and ceremony and Christmas is no exception.
For the British royal family, there is usually no discussion about at whose palace or castle they will have Christmas dinner at.
Each year, all members of the royal family head to the Queen's winter residence, Sandringham House, in Norfolk, about two-and-a-half hours north of London, to spend the festive season and welcome in the New Year.
However, this year, the Queen has cancelled those plans, with the Monarch deciding to stay in Windsor Castle as Covid-19 wreaks havoc in the UK.
Train of tradition for little Royal
It's a tradition the Windsors have observed for years and one Queen Elizabeth participated in with her parents and grandparents when she was a child.
Members of the royal family would board the British Royal Train at Kings Cross station and travel to Kings Lynn, Norfolk, a tradition the Queen still honours today.
Speaking to the Commonwealth
Sandringham also became the venue for the monarch's Christmas Day speech.
King George V celebrated the launch of radio by broadcasting live from the Long Library at Sandringham in 1926.
The Queen kept up the tradition for radio and then television, though she now pre-records it to enjoy the day itself.
Babies trigger break with tradition
There was a period during the 60s when the family spent Christmas at Windsor Castle.
"When Her Majesty's children were small, many Christmases were celebrated at Windsor Castle ... but since 1988, when the castle was being rewired, Royal Christmases returned to Sandringham," the official Royal Family website reveals.
The main photographs we all see of the Royals at Christmas are as they attend St Mary Magdalene Church, however there are many other traditions they observe at Sandringham.
Trimming the royal tree
Many Christmas trees are erected at the various royal residences, but the one at Sandingham is left incomplete so the royals can add the finishing touches.
While Queen Victoria and Prince Albert are often credited with introducing the Christmas tree, it was actually Queen Charlotte, the consort of King George III, who brought the tradition from her native Germany, though Queen Victoria and Prince Albert certainly popularised it.
Gifts, gin and games
On Christmas Eve, the family exchanges their presents, which they lay out on trestle tables and swap after afternoon tea.
According to royal correspondent Phil Dampier: "The adults exchange cheap joke gifts, with Harry once giving the Queen a shower cap with 'Ain’t life a bitch' on it!"
In the evening the family attends a black-tie dinner, where it is said the Queen's favourite cocktail, the Zaza, made of two parts Dubonnet and one part gin, is served.
A more recent tradition is the Christmas Eve football (soccer) match between Sandringham estate staff and members of the nearby village Castle Rising. Much to the delight of villagers, Princes William and Harry would also take part - and could get quite competitive, according to PopSugar.
After a hearty breakfast on Christmas morning, the older members of the royal family attend the morning service at St Mary Magdalene, a country church that dates back to the 16th Century.
Long tradition of long lunch
A traditional Christmas lunch follows according to the same menu every year.
"[They have] a salad with shrimp or lobster, and a roasted turkey, and all of your traditional side dishes like parsnips, carrots, Brussel sprouts and Christmas pudding with brandy butter for dessert," former royal chef Darren McGrady reveals.
"The royals have their own bespoke crackers, with gold or silver crowns and the Queen loves reading out the corny jokes," according to British tabloid The Express.
"Once they've eaten, everyone sits down and watches the Queen's Christmas speech," McGrady continues. The speech used to be live but now it is often pre-recorded at Windsor, allowing Queen Elizabeth to relax on the day.
"Afterward, they all go their own way before coming together again for afternoon tea and traditional Christmas fruitcake, then they gather again in the evening, where a buffet dinner with 15-20 different items awaits them. It's always a buffet with the chefs at the table carving."
Raise a toast to the chef
One unusual tradition of the Christmas evening buffet is that the Queen serves her head chef a drink.
"Right before the Christmas buffet, the senior chef on duty goes into the dining room and carves the rib roast or turkey or ham and once he's done, Her Majesty presents the chef with a glass of whiskey and they toast," McGrady reveals.
"That's the only time the chef goes into the dining room and has a glass of whiskey with the royal family.
"It's one of the chef's favourite traditions."
Monarch and mimic
Following the buffet dinner, the royals play parlour games, with charades a particular favourite.
"[The Queen] tends to be in bed by midnight, while the younger royals carry on drinking, with Sandringham cider a favourite of William and Harry," according to royal correspondent Phil Dampier.
Time for a walk
On Boxing Day there is a traditional shoot that in the past Prince Phillip has led.
If the weather is good, the Queen is said to enjoy a walk with her corgis, often in the company of others such as Kate or Prince Edward's wife Sophie.
Poignant Christmas without Philip
Last year the Queen and Prince Philip spent a subdued Christmas in semi-isolation at Windsor Castle due to the COVID pandemic.
This Christmas will be will be the first Her Majesty will spend without her beloved husband by her side.
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