Princess Diana Broke Royal Christmas Traditions During Her First Holiday With Queen Elizabeth

Princess Diana was one of the most beloved members of the royal family, known around the world for her unique way of making everyone feel at ease in her presence. During her time in the royal family, she was often cited as a royal rule-breaker, who tended to do things her own way, much to the dismay of some of the more staid, senior royals.

This was even true in the case of certain holidays. Keep reading to learn how Princess Diana celebrated Christmas, including the sad way she spent Christmas after her divorce from Prince Charles, and the unique way she broke tradition during her first year in the royal family.

What tradition did Princess Diana break during her first year of marriage?

Princess Diana
Princess Diana | Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images

Many families have special traditions that they enjoy recreating every single year. From “white elephant” gifts to potluck dinners, those traditions can often become the best part of the holidays.

For Princess Diana, who married Prince Charles in 1981, the royal family’s own particular Christmas tradition was a source of embarrassment. The first year that Princess Diana went with Prince Charles to the royals’ annual celebration, she got to join in on what the family calls their “cheap and cheerful” gift exchange.

According to reports, this gift exchange is something the family looks forward to every year, with the most memorable gifts being a leather toilet seat given to Prince Charles and a slightly racy shower cap that Prince Harry gave to his grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II.

However, Princess Diana missed the memo on her first year with the family, and instead of a fun gag gift, she gifted her sister-in-law, Princess Anne, a beautiful cashmere sweater. Undoubtedly, the new royal was very embarrassed, but she was able to show up better prepared the following year, showing up with a suitably funny gift. 

Princess Diana loved celebrating Christmas with her boys

If there was one thing that Princess Diana loved above else, it was being a mother. She absolutely loved spending time with her boys, Prince William and Prince Harry, and enjoyed doing “normal” things with them.

According to reports, she hyped up the holiday season for their benefit, and a recent news story details a letter that Princess Diana wrote to a close friend when the boys were young.

“The boys are thrilled at the prospect of Christmas on the horizon,” Princess Diana wrote to her friend, and went on to describe how they searched all over the place for any of their presents.

It sounds as though in many ways, Prince William and Prince Harry were just normal children. These days, they are undoubtedly sharing their own special memories of the holiday season with their families.

How did Princess Diana celebrate Christmas after her divorce?

Sadly, the idyllic days of holiday bliss wouldn’t last forever for Princess Diana. Following her divorce from Prince Charles, Princess Diana had a harder time finding happiness during that time of year.

In fact, according to a recent report, in 1995, the first year of her divorce, she opted to spend Christmas alone rather than with her family. The article claims that Princess Diana felt too uncomfortable around the royal family at that time to consider spending Christmas there and that she opted for a quiet day alone at her apartment.

Princess Diana’s time within the royal family might have been relatively short, but there’s no doubt that she made a huge impact – not just on them, but on the whole world. Her influence is still felt today.