12 royal Christmas traditions and etiquette rules everyone should follow

According to a royal expert, these are the 12 royal Christmas traditions everyone should follow.

The Royal Family is preparing for its first Christmas without the Queen – but nothing is expected to change dramatically.


King Charles and Camilla will still be following the royal family’s Christmas traditionCredit: AFP
The royal family traditionally goes to church at Sandringham at Christmas


The royal family traditionally goes to church at Sandringham at ChristmasCredit: PA
The family traditionally gathers to watch the king's Christmas message


The family traditionally gathers to watch the king’s Christmas messageCredit: PA

The company will return to Sandringham for celebrations this year.

Norfolk estate is expected to have a much more family feel than Windsor.

Royal expert Richard Fitzwilliams has revealed the 12 traditions the family will follow, even in the Queen’s absence.

From rules of etiquette to decorating the tree, this is everything we know about the royals’ Christmas plans.

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Getting to Sandringham

Richard told The Sun Online the family arrives at Sandringham on Christmas Eve.

Members will arrive in order of seniority.

Richard said: “The royals usually arrive the day before Christmas and arrive in order of seniority.

The less important members arrive first.

decorate the tree

After everyone arrives at the estate the day before Christmas, they will gather and decorate.

In a centuries-old tradition, the family will finish the decorations hanging on the Christmas trees together.

birthday presents

On Christmas Eve, the family will exchange gifts of humor.

Richard said: “The presents are in the Red Drawing Room at Sandringham and these are joke gifts.

“The royals don’t give each other expensive gifts.

“It’s a joke or a cheap gift – what do you give to the family that has everything.

On Diana’s first birthday, she didn’t know they gave cheap joke gifts, so she gave expensive gifts and felt embarrassed.

It’s Harry giving the Queen a bathing cap [and] Kate gives Harry a kit to grow your girlfriend, it’s fun.”

Black tie formal dinner

On Christmas Eve, the royals will hold a state black-tie dinner.

Everyone is invited and must dress up.

The chefs will cook a huge dinner to wrap up the day before Christmas.

Church visit

On Christmas morning, for those who want a family, they can attend St Mary’s Church on Earth.

This gathering will be private and intimate with no cameras or spectators.

General visit to the church

Senior members of the royal family are required to attend church in public viewing.

Cameras will capture the family as they walk to the church for a service.

Christmas lunch

The family will then return from church to the traditional Christmas dinner.

It will include three courses.

A royal expert recently took to TikTok to reveal bizarre rules of etiquette for lunch.

They include the ritual of salt and pepper, how to hold cups and a signal to everyone to stop eating.

Christmas walks

After that, the family will go out for a huge Christmas lunch.

They do a special walk around the grounds of Sandringham so the kids can get some fresh air and play.

King’s message

After a picnic, the whole family traditionally gathers to watch the King’s Christmas message.

The pre-recorded speech to the nation on Tuesday was apparently filmed.

It will be broadcast at 3pm on BBC One.

Afternoon tea

Then a light afternoon tea is set for the company.

As the day draws to a close, the adults can relax while the kids play with their gifts.

Evening buffet

The festive day will end with an evening buffet.

With just a few nibbles, the family will be over and have a great time together.

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While enjoying the evening buffet, it is understood that the family will play games.

Although it is not certain what they are playing, Richard said it is likely that they are playing charades.

The tree from last year's Christmas message background


The tree from last year’s Christmas message backgroundCredit: PA

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