Royal Christmas

The palace prepares for Princess Charlotte's first Christmas

As December draws near, the palace staff are busily preparing for the Princess' first Christmas.

While Christmas is always an affair to look forward to for the royals, this year it is especially true.
Princess Charlotte will join her big brother, Prince George, at Sandringham House for her very first Christmas.
Christmas preparations are already underway at the Queen’s Norfolk residence.
Princess Charlotte, who was born on May 2, will be the youngest guest in attendance.
While Grandma Carole Middleton has also dished on what she’ll be gifting her grandkids this year.
In a piece she wrote for Homemaker magazine, the 60-year-old business woman revealed her favourite Christmas gifts for little ones.
“Christmas is such a wonderful time of the year,” she penned before she flagged DIY products such as “Paper-and-String Sew Your Own Christmas Garland” and “Very Merry Cupcake Set” as great for “young helpers to personalise.”
Getting the Christmas shopping done early? Doting grandma Carole Middleton was seen picking up some gifts for Prince George and Princess Charlotte last month.
The Queen will be eager to spend the holidays with her great-grandchildren as well, after the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge chose to celebrate Christmas at their own home, Anmer Hall, last year.
The last time they joined the Queen for Christmas lunch was in 2013, with Prince George, then six months old, the guest of honour.
While the Queen normally travels to Sandringham a few days ahead, the rest of the family will arrive on Christmas Eve.
The festivities traditionally kick off at 4pm on Christmas Eve, with tea in the drawing room, where the women wear “silky dresses” and the men suits.
This is the first of five or more outfit changes over the next 24 hours.
Who could forget Prince George's gorgeous Christmas portraits last year? We can't wait to see both royal children this year.
Following German tradition, presents are opened on Christmas Eve around the 6m tree, which the children help the Queen decorate with traditional ornaments, including Queen Victoria’s little glass angels.
Gifts are usually inexpensive and jokey, with Harry once giving the Queen a showercap printed with ‘Ain’t life a bitch’ on it, and William giving his grandfather Prince Philip a gumboot-shaped soap and a set of joke dragon’s claws.
While baby Charlotte is sure to be the centre of attention, Prince George should be able to drive the pedalled car William once drove around the corridors of Sandringham House.
Following the opening of gifts, guests change once again for a lavish Christmas Eve dinner, with the women donning glamorous gowns and jewels, while the men dress in black tie.
The Queen’s guests will sit down to a meal of game fowl eggs, Norfolk shrimps or samphire – like a “sea asparagus” – to start.
This is followed by game birds shot on the estate, or Balmoral venison.
The Queen leads the royal family as the greet the crowds at the Christmas Day service in Sandringham last year.
The meal finishes with a “light and moussey” dessert or a tart of exotic fruit, and the whole spread is accompanied by fine wines.
Christmas Day begins with a walk led by Prince Philip to the nearby church of St Mary Magdalene for the morning service.
The Queen, however, is driven to the service, and greeted by 3000 people lining the route.
Christmas lunch is full of fun, including crackers.
It begins at 1.15pm and features a mixture of traditional fare and seafood such as a crab or lobster dish and roast Norfolk turkey.
A flaming traditional pudding or fresh fruit finishes the meal.
Following lunch, everyone gathers in the saloon, a large sitting room, to watch the Queen’s Christmas broadcast.
The Queen doesn’t join them, preferring to watch it alone in another room.
In the afternoon, there is a film in the ballroom, or games such as charades.
The Queen Christmas address is watched by the royal family together while her Majesty prefers to watch it alone in another room.
The day finishes with a buffet of cold turkey, meats and salad, with a “highly intoxicating” pina colada mousse and raspberry coulis, served around 8pm.
The Queen usually retires at midnight in preparation for Prince Philip’s pheasant shoot, which takes place on Boxing Day.

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