Royal Family's Reported Favorite Holiday Traditions: From Prince Philip's Strong Drinks to Joke Gifts on Christmas Eve

Odette Odendaal
Dec 10, 2019
04:30 P.M.
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Christmas is a joyous occasion for the royal family, who celebrate the day at Sandringham with communal lightheartedness, and of course, with Prince Philip's infamous cocktails.


The documentary, "Sandringham: The Queen at Christmas," which aired on Channel 5 last night, gave a more in-depth look at the way the Royal Family chose to spend Christmas.

Queen Elizabeth II poses for a photo after she recorded her annual Christmas Day message, in the White Drawing Room at Buckingham Palace in a picture released on December 24, 2018, in London, United Kingdom. | Source: Getty Images.



After all the royals arrive at the Norfolk estate on Christmas Eve, Prince Philip kicks off festivities by hosting a drink reception at 7:30 pm, during which he serves "very strong" drinks despite the family not being big drinkers.

According to the royal expert, Ingrid Seward, the Queen "likes a martini" on Christmas Eve, but any guest brave enough to drink one of the Duke of Edinburgh's creations would certainly "be knocked out by these drinks."

The Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, The Duke of Edinburgh re-visit Broadlands, to mark their Diamond Wedding Anniversary on November 20. | Source: Getty Images.


Following the drinks reception, its time for the family to sit down for a candle-lit six-course meal before they kick back for some fun. No one goes to bed before the Queen, and the late Princess Margaret used to keep the festivities going until the early hours of the morning with her skills on the piano.


The royals also adopted the German tradition of gift sharing on Christmas Eve. Instead of exchanging expensive gifts, they make it as silly and as tacky as possible.

Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Prince Harry attend the opening of the Greenhouse Sports Centre on April 26, 2018, in London, United Kingdom. | Source: Getty Images.


Before Prince Harry and Meghan Markle married, Kate Middleton gave Prince Harry a "Grow Your Own Girlfriend" kit, while Prince Harry gifted his brother Prince William a comb as a teasing nod at his hair loss. The Queen also received her fair share of silliness with a washing-up apron and the comical singing fish "Big Mouth Billie Bass," among others.


Brothers William and Harry also enjoy a friendly game of sibling rivalry on Christmas Eve playing soccer with staff members on the Sandringham Estate. For the annual event, Prince William and his team reportedly don Aston Villa socks while team Harry wears Arsenal.


The Royal family attend Christmas Day Church service at Church of St Mary Magdalene on December 25, 2017 in King's Lynn, England. | Source: Getty Images.

While the whole family attends Christmas service at St. Mary Magdalene on the Sandringham Estate, the family also indulge in their annual game of charades on Christmas Day. 


But the Queen doesn't forget about her staff during the holidays, as she continues a tradition started by her grandfather, King George V. Every year, the Queen distributes about 1500 Christmas puddings accompanied by a greeting card from the reigning monarch.


Queen Elizabeth II and Shylah Gordon, aged 8, attach a bauble to a Christmas tree during the opening of the Queen Elizabeth II centre at CORAM on December 05, 2018, in London, England. | Source: Getty Images.


However, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle announced that they wouldn't be attending holiday festivities at Sandringham this year. The couple reportedly spent Thanksgiving in the US and revealed early in December how they would be celebrating "12 days of Christmas" this year.

As it is a time for giving, Meghan and Prince Harry selected 12 charity organizations as a part of their monthly tradition of raising awareness for those in need. And they later shared their choices with a collage of pictures featuring the charities.