Queen Elizabeth Has 1 Rule When It Comes to Her Great Grandchildren and Christmas Lunch

Each year, members of the royal family gather at Sandringham to celebrate Christmas with Queen Elizabeth. The royals enjoy time-honored traditions with Her Majesty, like decorating the Christmas tree and opening presents on Christmas Eve, but there is one rule Queen Elizabeth always enforces for her great-grandchildren. Here’s a look at what it’s like celebrating Christmas with the royal family.

Queen Elizabeth Christmas
Queen Elizabeth | Photo by Yui Mok – WPA Pool/Getty Images

Christmas with the royals

Christmas is the one holiday that brings all of the royals together under the same roof. Most of Her Majesty’s children and grandchildren spend the holiday with her at Sandringham, where they take part in a festive lunch, exchange gifts, and join each other for a special Christmas Day church service.

But there are a few things about the royal’s Christmas traditions that may surprise you.

For instance, Queen Elizabeth and her husband, Prince Philip, always take a train to her Sandringham estate. They also send out hundreds of Christmas cards to friends and family members, which are signed over the summer.

After the family attends their annual Christmas Day church service, Queen Elizabeth hosts a special lunch at Sandringham, where her great-grandchildren are required to follow one simple rule.

Queen Elizabeth has one rule for her great-grandchildren

While Elizabeth loves spending time with her great-grandchildren, she does make them follow one simple rule during the family’s Christmas Day lunch.

According to Express, Queen Elizabeth requires all of the children in the house to eat at a separate table during the holiday lunch. But once everyone is done eating, the kids are allowed to join the adults for the remainder of the day.

Queen Elizabeth also organizes every detail of the lunch herself, down to seating arrangements and the choice of food. Before anyone sits down, she ensures that the table is set properly and that everything is in order.

The lunch, of course, happens after the morning church service and the children likely busy themselves with all the presents they opened the night before.

What happens on Christmas Eve?

The most noteworthy event for the royals on Christmas Eve is the opening of gifts. The family has German roots and follow the old German tradition of opening gifts on Christmas Eve instead of the next morning.

Prince Charles is usually the one who kicks off the gift exchange, though the family is known to hand out a few joke presents over the years.

In fact, Princess Anne once gifted Prince Charles with a leather toilet seat, which he actually grew to love over the years. He reportedly brings it with him on trips and never leaves the home without it.

Once all of the gifts are handed out, the royals partake in a friendly game of football with some of the workers at Sandringham. Prince Harry and Prince William reportedly play in the game, though they support different clubs in real life. 

Prince William is apparently a fan of Aston Villa while Prince Harry roots for Arsenal.

Will Prince Harry and Meghan Markle spend Christmas with Queen Elizabeth this year?

Speaking of Prince Harry, the Duke of Sussex and his wife, Meghan Markle, are scheduled to make a trip out to California in time for Thanksgiving this year. The couple will be visiting Markle’s mother, Doria Ragland, and will be staying in the United States for several weeks.

Luckily, Prince Harry and Markle will be back in England in time for Christmas, so they should make an appearance at Sandringham with Queen Elizabeth and the rest of the royal family.

The trip abroad comes amid intense speculation that Prince Harry and Markle are looking to relocate. The couple recently opened up about their ongoing struggles with the British tabloids, sparking rumors that they might be thinking about moving to California.

Prince Harry is also dealing with some fallout over his feud with Prince William, which could make things interesting when the brothers celebrate Christmas with their Grandmother Queen Elizabeth next month.