‘Tis the season for household gatherings, festive markets, cookie exchanges — and questioning precisely how these very well-off royals spend the vacations.
Because it seems, the Home of Windsor had greater than their share of quirky and downright uncommon Christmas traditions that may go away you scratching your head. From gut-busting gag items and garlic bans to correct teacup etiquette and a moderately surprising before-and-after dinner weigh-in (sure, actually!), we’ve uncovered a few of the most weird “vacation commandments” the royal household adopted below the reign of Queen Elizabeth II.
Thou shalt… attend the annual vacation luncheon
Every week earlier than Christmas, Queen Elizabeth would host an annual luncheon at Buckingham Palace for her whole prolonged household — an exclusive guest list that usually totals greater than 50 individuals.
Though she delivered fancy invitations properly upfront, woe betide anybody who declined the beneficiant supply to spend the afternoon balancing their tea cups whereas mingling with a slew of faces solely seen every year. Little else is understood concerning the top-secret occasion (no pictures was allowed), leaving royal watchers and the British tabloids speculating about what truly went on behind these gilded gates.
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Thou shalt… spend Christmas at Sandringham
In case you thought prepping a Christmas turkey to your vacation feast was aggravating, how do you assume the royal cooks really feel? Christmas week at Sandringham Home, on the grounds of what’s now King Charles’ Norfolk property, is an absolute must-attend — though the uncommon exception is usually granted.
As soon as upon a time, shut household wouldn’t be allowed to spend Christmas away from Sandringham. Simply ask Diana, Princess of Wales, who by no means obtained to spend the large day along with her Spencer clan. In recent times, nevertheless, the queen allowed for some wiggle room, letting Prince William and Duchess Kate go to the Middleton household in 2014.
See additionally: 10 bizarre rules royal children have to to follow.
Thou shalt… purchase gag-worthy items
Put aside any preconceived notions you might need as to the forms of presents the Royal Household purchase each other in the course of the holidays. Because it seems, it’s all a couple of good gag. On Christmas Eve, the Windsors lay out their items on a desk and change them over piping sizzling cups of tea.
The theme? Low-cost, cheerful and full-out hilarious.
That’s proper — as a option to reduce free and keep away from flaunting their wealth, the Royal Family buys each other gag gifts as an alternative of pricy objects. Just a few years again, Kate famously purchased the then-single Harry a “Develop Your Personal Girlfriend” equipment whereas the prince allegedly purchased his beloved granny a bathe cap with “Ain’t Life a B*tch” printed throughout the highest.
Oh, to have been a fly on the wall when the queen opened that reward.
Thou shalt… stroll to church on Christmas morning
It’s one thing of an annual custom for the Norfolk locals to line the streets resulting in St. Mary Magdalene church on the Sandringham property to catch a glimpse of the Royal Household as they stroll to attend the Christmas morning service.
The Windsor clan — minus the little kiddos — walks the whole manner, greeting royal watchers alongside the trail, apart from the queen, who would arrive promptly on the church door by way of automotive.
The 2017 service, particularly, was a biggie for royal followers because it was the primary time the not-yet-a-duchess Meghan curtsied to the queen in public. Naturally, it was dissected by information retailers for days afterward. Just a few issues the previous actor wanted to recollect: curtsies ought to by no means graze the ground; you merely put one leg behind the opposite, permit for a mild bend on the knees and bow your head barely. (Markle nailed it, for the report.)
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Thou shalt… all the time costume formally
This shouldn’t actually come as a shock, but it surely nonetheless must be stated: there’s no lounging round in PJs — not even on Christmas morning. (Our sympathies exit to the little ones — George, Charlotte and Louis.) The complete household is predicted to be dressed and ready for all of the Christmas Day festivities, from the morning church service to the formal night dinner. Modesty first, whereas nonetheless being modern.
See additionally: From heels to hats: 10 fashion rules the royals must follow.
Thou shalt… be weighed earlier than and after dinner
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This isn’t a joke, associates. In keeping with royal expert and Majesty editor-in-chief, Ingrid Stewart, each Royal Member of the family is weighed earlier than and after their Christmas dinner. (We’ll provide you with a second to let that sink in.) It’s apparently a practice that dates again to the early 1900s in the course of the reign of King Edward VII who, as a manner of figuring out whether or not or not his friends had been sufficiently fed, requested all of them to step on the size.
Given the truth that the Windsors take pleasure in three large meals all through Christmas Day, the size appears greater than somewhat extreme. Some traditions simply don’t age properly.
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The queen was extremely fluent in French and most well-liked for it for use throughout all formal dinner events. That meant, the Christmas dinner menu was supposedly printed in French, as properly. No phrase on whether or not Kate or Meghan have been accustomed to the language after they spent their first Christmas with the royals.
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Thou shalt not… eat garlic
We’ve all obtained these meals or seasonings we merely can’t stand, be it attributable to style or texture. Queen Elizabeth, nevertheless, had one intense dislike that additionally occurred to be a standard cooking ingredient: garlic. As former royal chef John Higgins told the National Post in 2016, “they’re lacking out on garlic as a result of, at Buckingham Palace, you don’t prepare dinner with garlic. I suppose, in case you get the ‘royal burp.’” The actual cause, in keeping with studies? The queen hated the scent.
Thou shalt… stop to eat as soon as Her Majesty is completed
One of many nice issues about being a queen is that, relating to meals, you set the tempo. Throughout meals, when Queen Elizabeth had taken her final chew, she reportedly would quietly put down her fork and everyone else would have to follow her lead, whether or not or not they have been truly achieved with their meals. We think about this will need to have been a battle for almost all of her friends.
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Thou shalt… fold thy napkins in half
When on the desk, napkins should be folded in half always to keep away from unpleasant stains and meals bits. Royals are expected to gently wipe their mouths and hands inside the fold of their napkins. To do in any other case would danger soiled garments — gasp! — and gross napkins colored in a wide range of less-than-appetizing meals stains. Out of sight, out of thoughts.
Thou shalt not… play Monopoly
Throughout the vacation break, the royals would enjoy rousing games of charades. Queen Elizabeth liked it a lot that nobody else can be allowed to retire from the room till she was achieved enjoying. However there’s one sport, particularly, that was strictly prohibited — Monopoly.
Sure, that board sport the place you acquire actual property and “get out of jail free” playing cards. The explanation? Prior to now, it’s gotten too aggressive and heated so the queen had it banished. What we need to know is who the responsible social gathering was.
Thou shalt… use utensils correctly
Nearly all of us commoners don’t usually spend time dwelling on how we reduce into our meals throughout a meal, however the royals take their eating etiquette very, very significantly. No matter whether or not you’re right-handed or left-handed, knives should be held along with your proper and forks along with your left (with the tines dealing with down, in fact). It doesn’t finish there: when you’ve reduce off a bit of meals, it must be balanced on the back of the fork, as an alternative of poked via with the tines.
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Thou shalt… comply with the chief
Entrances are an vital issue within the Windsor household hierarchy, and the Orders of Precedence pecking order is nailed all the way down to a precise science. The procession, naturally, used to start with the queen and would proceed so as of these subsequent in line to the throne. For instance, previous to his demise in April 2021, Prince Philip by no means entered a room alongside his spouse — he all the time trailed behind her by a couple of paces throughout all public and formal occasions.
Now, King Charles would be the head of the pack.
Thou shalt… drink tea accurately
Sure, there’s an accurate option to maintain a teacup and saucer — and, sure, meaning you’ve in all probability been doing it incorrect. As etiquette skilled Myka Meier advised People, a royal is predicted to make use of their thumb and index finger to carry the highest of the deal with, with the center finger gently supporting the underside of the cup. Maintain these pinkies tucked in! As well as, the ladies have an additional rule to abide by — one should sip from the very same spot to keep away from lipstick stains across the rim.
Thou shalt not… take down Christmas decor till February
Though most of Queen Elizabeth’s friends would begin to go away Sandringham Home after Boxing Day, the queen reportedly continued with the festive feels till the second week of February. Though this may appear odd to some, there’s truly a extremely poignant cause behind the queen’s need to maintain the tree and tinsel up for an additional month and a half.
Her father, King George VI, handed away on Feb. 6, 1952, and it was her manner of remembering him in the course of the vacation season earlier than she would head again to London for the 12 months.