Queen Elizabeth Follows These Royal Traditions Every Christmas

Every year, Queen Elizabeth invites members of the royal family to join her for Christmas at her Sandringham estate. Over the course of the holiday, Her Majesty takes part in a number of different traditions — some of which have been around for hundreds of years. From opening up presents on Christmas Eve to giving her staffers festive puddings, here are all of the Christmas traditions Queen Elizabeth follows every December.

Queen Elizabeth Christmas
Queen Elizabeth | Photo by John Stillwell – WPA Pool/Getty Images

Queen Elizabeth’s Christmas cards

Her Majesty teams up with her husband, Prince Philip, every year to send over 750 Christmas cards to various people around the world. The royal family has a tradition of sending cards, and some of the cards in the family’s archives date back to the 1850s.

The tradition is believed to have been started by Queen Victoria. Back in the day, the cards featured portraits of the royal family, something Queen Elizabeth has continued in modern times.

Royal staffers are not forgotten

A lot of the attention is on the royal family during the holiday season, but Queen Elizabeth always makes sure to remember her staffers as well. According to Insider, the Queen purchases a whopping 1,500 Fortnum and Mason puddings for her workers.

The pudding treats cost a little over $50 a pop, so Queen Elizabeth is making quite the investment on an annual basis. The tradition also dates back to Queen Victoria, who would order her chefs to make puddings for relatives.

A royal Christmas tree

The Christmas tree was reportedly introduced to the royal family in 1840 following Prince Albert’s return home from Germany. But Christmas trees were present in the palace as early as the 18th century when George II’s consort, Queen Charlotte, put up the first one.

Queen Elizabeth has taken this tradition a step further and actually helps decorate the tree herself. We can only imagine how that goes every year.

Her Majesty gives back to schools

Always in the giving mood, Queen Elizabeth and Philip make sure that local schools in Sandringham get into the holiday spirit as well. To that end, the two donate Christmas trees to schools throughout the area.

Once again, Queen Victoria started this tradition in the royal family, though Her Majesty also gives trees to St. Paul’s Cathedral, Westminster Abbey, Cannongate Kirk, and St. Gile’s Cathedral.

Christmas Day service

The royals spend most of the holidays behind closed doors, but their biggest public appearance is when they all attend a Christmas Day church service at St. Mary Magdalene, which is located close to the Sandringham estate.

Although the service has been a tradition for the royals, Queen Elizabeth does not follow all of the ways of her ancestors. For instance, Her Majesty does not wear her crown during the service.

Queen Elizabeth’s wardrobe changes

It is not that big of a surprise to learn that Queen Elizabeth changes her wardrobe a lot throughout the holiday season. The Queen treats Christmas just like any other royal engagement in London, which means she always brings a few sets of clothes for the big day.

On Christmas Day, for example, it is not unheard of for Queen Elizabeth to make up to seven wardrobe changes throughout the day. She also has assistants who make sure that none of her outfits clash with the rest of the royal family.

A royal Christmas Day dinner menu

The royals have personal chefs that make the majority of their meals, but when Christmas rolls around, they prefer to eat turkey just like most people who celebrate the holiday around the world.

Edward VII is normally credited for popularizing turkey at Christmas. The dish was Edward’s favorite type of meat and the royals have followed his lead ever since.

Queen Elizabeth’s speech

One of Queen Elizabeth’s most popular traditions every Christmas is her televised speech. This tradition began with King George V way back in the 1930s and Her Majesty has continued it throughout her reign.

The only time Queen Elizabeth did not give a Christmas Day speech was in 1969. Instead, the royals aired a documentary titled, Royal Family, which did not go over well with the public.