FOR many of us, Christmas Day is an excuse to lounge around on the sofa in our pyjamas and feast on tubs of chocolate whilst binge-watching the best of festive TV.
But the Royal Family are known for the strict set of rules and etiquette that they must abide by and Christmas Day is no exception.
The family typically spend Christmas and New Year at Sandringham House, which was the Queen's country estate in Norfolk.
And whilst royal expert Jennie Bond admits King Charles has a more relaxed approach to the holidays than the late Queen, there are still some strict dos and don'ts in place that Kate Middleton and the rest of the royals must stick to.
Parents eating with their children
Christmas may be a time of togetherness but adults and children, including Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis, not only eat their meals at separate tables but in entirely separate rooms.
Mike Tindall revealed all on the House of Rugby podcast, explaining: "There must be about 70 of us there. There are seven tables and then the kiddies have their own little one in a different room."
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Former royal chef Darren McGrady has said that this separation is for any formal dinner, adding that children “aren’t allowed to sit with the adults until they have learned the art of polite conversation”.
Monopoly as an after dinner game
The Royals are known for their love of sports and games, especially Kate and William – who were playfully compared to Monica and Chandler from Friends by Mike Tindall during a recent podcast together.
But Monopoly is reportedly off limits after the Queen claimed things became ‘too vicious’.
Prince Andrew revealed the Monopoly ban during a visit to Leeds Building Society's newly-refurbished Albion Street headquarters in 2008 when he was presented with the board game as a gift. He politely declined, telling his hosts: "we are not allowed to play Monopoly at home”.
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Jennie tells Fabulous: “The family do love to play games and are big fans of a card game called Racing Demon, which is very intense and competitive. But there must have been too much tension with Monopoly and if the Queen requested it be banned, I’d assume that extended to Christmas Day too!”
Bedtime before the King
Former private secretary to the Queen, Sir William Heseltine, previously revealed that it was bad form to retire to bed before the monarch at any occasion and admitted that Princess Diana often struggled to stay up as late as the Queen.
And Jennie says this tradition could be bad news with Charles on the throne as he’s known for staying up late.
In fact, Prince Harry previously revealed of his father: “This is a man who has dinner ridiculously late at night, and then goes to his desk later that night and will fall asleep on his notes to the point where he’ll wake up with a piece of paper stuck to his face.”
Jennie adds: “Charles may work late into the night but I hope he will take a day off at Christmas. That being said, he may not be used to an early night so Christmas Day could well be late to bed for all.”
The family reportedly gather at Christmas to watch the monarch’s speech but Jennie says hours spent in front of the TV would be frowned upon and the family are encouraged to do outdoor activities.
“Christmas is a time of togetherness and for Charles, I imagine he would see this as a rare and wonderful day when the family can all be together,” Jennie explains. “There is a lot in place for the day, including church and formal meals.
"Plus, the family loves to soak up the outdoors and go for walks together. Charles isn’t a big fan of the TV and I can’t imagine it would be on. For someone to remove themselves from the festivities to watch something would likely be seen as rude.
"Especially as you can watch TV and films at any time nowadays with streaming services.”
Royal running order
- CHRISTMAS EVE
- Arrivals throughout the afternoon
- 4pm: Afternoon tea, followed by gag presents
- 8.15pm: Black tie dinner
- CHRISTMAS DAY
- 8.30am: Full English downstairs for the men
- 9am: The Queen used to get her breakfast in bed
- 11am: Sandringham church service
- 1pm: Christmas lunch
- 2pm: Pudding
- 3pm: King's speech followed by Charades
- 8.15pm: Buffet dinner
Expensive or sentimental gifts
The royal family do not see Christmas as a time to lavish each other with expensive presents and instead, prefer to entertain with novelty gag gifts. For instance, Prince Harry reportedly gifted the Queen a shower cap in 2013 that said: "Ain't life a b****."
Jennie explains: “It’s a very light-hearted affair and the sillier, the better. Harry once got the Queen a singing fish, which she loved. Camilla and Charles have an earthy sense of humour and will no doubt encourage this tradition. They do get the giggles together a lot, so I’m sure it’s hilarious to witness.”
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