King to host first Christmas as monarch at Sandringham

The King is to spend Christmas Day at Sandringham this year, marking a return to the traditional royal family Christmas on the Norfolk estate.

The monarch and the Queen Consort are expected to be joined by their wider family as they mark their poignant first Christmas since the death of the late Queen and Charles’s accession to the throne.

South African President State Visit to the UK
The King and the Queen Consort during the State Banquet this week (Chris Jackson/PA)

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.

Royals attends Christmas Day Church service
The King with the Prince and Princess of Wales, Prince George and Princess Charlotte arriving for the Christmas Day morning service at St Mary Magdalene Church in Sandringham in 2019 (Joe Giddens/PA)

Charles is also preparing to pre-record his historic, first ever Christmas Broadcast as monarch, when 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 airs after lunch, usually at 3pm on December 25.

Queen’s Christmas broadcast
The Queen recording her annual Christmas broadcast in 2021 (Victoria Jones/PA)

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

Tourists visiting the State Apartments will see shimmering trees, twinkling lights and festive garlands.

Christmas at Windsor Castle
Members of the Royal Collection Trust put the finishing touches to a 20-foot-high Nordmann Fir Christmas tree in St George’s Hall, Windsor Castle (Andrew Matthews/PA)

The Christmas colour scheme at the castle was chosen by Royal Collection Trust curators together with the exhibitions team, and this year, the central tree features purple velvet and satin ribbons and scores of jewel-shaped ornaments.

The garlands on the Grand Staircase include red velvet swags and hand-gilded leaves and fruits inspired by the Grinling Gibbons carvings that can be seen around the apartments.

Christmas at Windsor Castle
The Grand Staircase at Windsor (Andrew Matthews/PA)

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.

Christmas at Windsor Castle
The decorations on a table in the Waterloo Chamber are adjusted (Andrew Matthews/PA)

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.

Queen Elizabeth II death
Sandringham House (Chris Radburn/PA)

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”.

Queen Elizabeth II death
The Prince and Princess of Wales look at flowers left in memory of the Queen at Sandringham (Toby Melville/PA)

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