King Charles Is Shaking Up How the Royal Family Celebrates Christmas This Year

While there are a few changes, we can expect to see some familiar royal family members in attendance for a holiday that honors the Queen.

Throughout the past two years of the COVID-19 pandemic, plenty of holiday plans have been derailed. And the royal family‘s holiday plans are no exception. Over the past two Christmases, the royals have spent a more intimate, socially-distanced holiday at Windsor Castle.

This year, the regular holiday plans are back on! The family will revert back to the basics—along with some changes.

As part of the myriad of royal family holiday traditions, the clan will gather at Sandringham once again—a royal tradition that began in 1988. Sadly, it is the first year the regal group will unite to celebrate the holidays since Queen Elizabeth’s passing. Prior, Queen Elizabeth spent more than thirty Christmases at the country estate.

With King Charles newly at the holiday helm, there are a few changes he will usher in this year while honoring his late mother.

What are the royal family’s Christmas plans?

Per tradition, the family will begin by attending a morning mass at St. Mary Magdalene—a church that has been on the Sandringham property since the 16th century.

Following the church service, the family makes their way back to Sandringham to enjoy a Christmas feast. But not before talking to and taking photos with royal-admirers who annually visit the church to see the family. Once the family returns for the feast, they indulge in turkey and these royal Christmas dinner delicacies.

In true royal fashion, we can expect a blend of tradition with a dash of drama and impeccable style. The holiday is known to bring out some of the royal’s best winter wardrobe pieces and wackiest hats, to say the least.

How will this year’s traditions be different?

This year King Charles will change certain aspects of the gathering slightly. A BBC royal correspondent reports that the King will host a less formal holiday that will be “less buttoned up,” than past years. Previously, strict royal protocols had to be followed on the holiday.

Additionally, the King has decided to pre-record the traditional Christmas broadcast rather than to make the speech the day of.

Who will be joining King Charles for Christmas?

Curious to know which members of the royal family tree made the guest list this holiday season?

While the guest list has not been confirmed, we can, of course, predict that Queen Consort Camilla will be joining her husband at the estate. We can also expect the King’s siblings—Princess Anne, Prince Andrew and Prince Edward—to be in attendance. In another slight change from previous years, Prince Andrew’s ex-wife, Sarah Ferguson will reportedly attend the holiday for the first time in thirty years.

Fresh off their U.S. trip to Boston, the Prince and Princess of Wales—William and Kate—will also join the festivities with their beloved children, Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis. Let’s not forget about two of the queen’s granddaughters, Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie, who will be in attendance as well.

Besides these royal family favorites, it wouldn’t be a royal gathering without everyone’s royal dogs tagging along.

Who won’t be joining?

Although Meghan Markle may have mentioned her “amazing” first Christmas at Sandringham with the royals and Prince Harry in the couple’s new Netflix docuseries, the two—along with little ones Archie and Lilibet— will reportedly not be joining the royal family this year. And it’s no surprise with all the royal family scandals the pair is about to drop. Despite not attending this year’s festivities, however, we can be sure to read up on royal-insider accounts from the Duke of Sussex in his new book, Spare, that comes out shortly after the holidays.

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Jessica Kaplan
Jessica Kaplan is the Assistant Editor of Trends, where she writes lifestyle articles for Readers Digest, Taste of Home, and Family Handyman. When she’s not writing, you can find her listening to a podcast.