CHRISTMAS trees were first popularised in Britain by the Royal Family centuries ago, so it makes sense that royals still pull out all the stops for this festive tradition today. Here are the four Christmas tree traditions the Royal Family will be taking part in this year.
With Christmas merely weeks away, families across the country are busy preparing for the festivities. The Royal Family are thought to be gearing up to return to Sandringham for a Norfolk Christmas once again after last years plans were derailed by last-minute Covid restrictions. And a huge part of the royal Christmas involves the tree, with the whole family taking part in several festive traditions relating to it.
Although Christmas trees are considered an important part of British Christmas celebrations, Germany is widely credited with sparking the trend. George III’s wife Queen Charlotte was born in modern-day Germany, and Charlotte was believed to have introduced the Christmas tree to the British Royal Family in the 1700s.
The idea of decorating a tree for Christmas was further popularised by Queen Victoria and her devoted consort Prince Albert in the 19th Century.And today, Victoria’s great-great-granddaughter keeps the royal tradition alive, with the Queen’s homes full of Christmas trees during the festive period every year. Here are some of the Christmas tree traditions the Royal Family will be taking part in this year.
Royal children decorate the tree
Several Christmas trees are put up at royal residences across the country, and many are decorated by staff. But the Queen is thought to oversee the decorations at her home, and she allows her great-grandchildren to decorate a Christmas tree when they visit.
In her 2015 Christmas speech, the Queen said: “One of the joys of living a long life is watching one’s children, then grandchildren, then great-grandchildren, help decorate the Christmas tree.” Nowadays, decorating the Christmas tree is a task delegated to the Queen’s great-grandchildren, including Prince George and Princess Charlotte.
The Queen spoke about the tradition in The Queen’s Green Planet documentary, and she said royal children often knock the decorations off the tree in their excitement. But she added: “Anyway, they enjoy themselves. And the great thing is to make them decorate it and they’re a bit more careful.”
Unlike her trees at Windsor Castle and Buckingham Palace, the tree decorations at Sandringham are thought to be more understated.
Speaking on the Channel 5 documentary Inside Sandringham: Holidaying with the Queen, royal expert Claudia Joseph once said: “Prince Philip will always put the gold star on the top of the tree, and probably will continue to do so for the rest of his life. “He’s quite a stalwart and won’t let other people take control. When any young children come they put their own decorations on.”
But following Philip’s death in April this year, it is not clear who will take on the mantle of this royal Christmas tradition.
The Queen donates Christmas trees around the local area
Several churches and schools receive a Christmas tree from the Queen to mark the festive season every year. The Royal Family website explains: “As well as donating money to several charities in Windsor each Christmas, The Queen also gives Christmas trees each year to Westminster Abbey, St. Paul’s Cathedral, St. Giles’ Cathedral and the Canongate Kirk in Edinburgh.
“Churches and schools in the Sandringham area will also receive a tree from Her Majesty.”
Decorations are kept up until February
The Queen will usually stay at Sandringham for several weeks after the Christmas period ends, and it is widely believed the monarch opts to keep her decorations up until February.
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