King Charles to follow queen's tradition of Christmas at Sandringham

King is expected to be joined by wider family during poignant first Christmas without queen

King Charles III  at Buckingham Palace on Thursday. Getty
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King Charles will mark a return to a traditional royal family Christmas when he spends the holiday at Sandringham on the Norfolk estate.

The wider family will join the monarch and Queen Consort Camilla as they have their poignant first Christmas since the death of the late queen and the king's accession to the throne.

King Charles's plan to travel to Sandringham was announced by Buckingham Palace on Thursday.

Queen Elizabeth II hosted her family at Sandringham House over the festive period throughout the decades.

It follows a two-year break when, due to the Covid pandemic, the late queen spent Christmas at Windsor Castle two years in a row — the first with the Duke of Edinburgh — separated from her wider family in lockdown.

Royal Christmases usually feature a morning trip to St Mary Magdalene Church, the greeting of well-wishers, and a family lunch with turkey and all the trimmings.

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The Prince and Princess of Wales and their children Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis are often among the gathered guests.

King Charles is also preparing to record his historic, first Christmas broadcast as monarch, where he will no doubt reflect on the loss of his mother and her legacy.

Traditionally, members of the royal family sit down to watch the televised address when it is broadcast after lunch, usually at 3pm on Christmas day.

Meanwhile, Windsor Castle has been made ready for Christmas, with a six-metre tree in St George’s Hall decorated in 3,000 lights and hundreds of regal purple ribbons.

It took a team of four staff from the Royal Collection Trust two days to dress the Berkshire royal residence’s festive trees.

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Tourists visiting the state apartments will see shimmering trees, twinkling lights and festive garlands.

A handmade angel sits on top of St George’s Hall’s towering Nordmann fir, which came from nearby Windsor Great Park.

The garlands on the grand staircase include red velvet swags and hand-gilded leaves and fruit, inspired by the Grinling Gibbons carvings that can be seen around the apartments.

There are more trees in the crimson drawing room, the inner hall, the queen’s gallery, the Undercroft Cafe and the admissions centre.

For the first time in more than a decade, a festive table display adorns the grand Waterloo chamber.

Another team of three people put this in place.

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Sandringham House has been the private home of four generations of British monarchs for more than 160 years, and now belongs to the king.

The late queen celebrated the eve of her platinum jubilee there just seven months before her death.

It was bought in 1862 by the then Prince of Wales, who later became Edward VII, as a private country retreat.

The house was rebuilt in 1870 to ensure it was big enough for his growing family.

George V, the queen’s grandfather, described the house as “Dear old Sandringham, the place I love better than anywhere else in the world”.

George VI, the queen’s father, wrote: “I have always been so happy here and I love the place."

After Queen Elizabeth’s death, Prince William and his wife Kate viewed floral tributes left by members of the public at the gates of Sandringham.

Updated: November 24, 2022, 10:53 PM
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