20-foot trees, charades, and tiaras: This is how the royal family spends Christmas

  • Windsor Castle has already been decorated for Christmas, featuring a 20-foot tree and elaborate ornaments.
  • However, the royal family will spend December 25 at their Sandringham residence in Norfolk.
  • Christmas Day is strictly scheduled, but comes along with charades, party games, and tiaras.

The Queen is already decking the halls of Windsor Castle – her weekend home – for Christmas, with the arrival of a 20-foot fir tree and opulent decorations and table settings.

The Christmas decor at the castle has become an annual tradition. Last year it saw an oriental theme throughout its rooms, with a tree decorated with Chinese lanterns.

This year, however, is a bit more traditional – the castle (which is the oldest and the largest inhabited castle in the world) has gone for a sparkly gold and red theme.

A 20-foot Nordmann Fir tree, brought in from nearby Great Windsor Park, has been erected and decorated in the castle’s St George’s Hall.

The tree is covered in crown-shaped baubles, tinsel, fairy lights, and velvet bows.

Windsor castle christmas tree

A second 15-foot tree has been set up in the Crimson Drawing Room.

Queen christmas windsor castle

The castle’s State Dining Room has also been decorated with silver-gilt pieces from the Grand Service, commissioned by George IV and still used today by The Queen and her guests at State Banquets.

Queen windsor castle christmas

The Queen is expected spend time at Windsor Castle throughout December, but does not usually spend Christmas there, according to MailOnline.

Instead, the royal family will join the Queen and Prince Philip at their Sandringham residence from Christmas Eve to Boxing Day.

Windsor castle christmas tree
The 2017 seen from a distance in St George’s Hall. Jack Taylor / Getty

There’s a strict timetable for Christmas, including breakfast, a service at Sandringham’s St Mary Magdalene church, walks, lunch, and bedtimes. Christmas lunch takes up just 50 minutes.

The BBC always broadcasts an annual Christmas speech from Her Majesty, but it’s actually recorded in advance, so doesn’t intrude on her day.

The Queen
The Queen delivers her 2016 Christmas speech. Getty

Even the outfits are formally regulated. On Christmas Eve, suits and “smart silk dresses” are worn for lunch, while “black tie and glamorous gowns” with expensive jewellery and tiaras are worn for dinner.

On Christmas morning, it’s a day dress or a smart suit with pearls for the women and overcoats for men as the royal family heads to church.

The gifts are “cheap and cheerful,” according to MailOnline, and charades, Christmas crackers, and party games are all commonplace.

Kate Middleton Prince William kids christmas day
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge walk with Prince George and Princess Charlotte on Christmas Day 2016, near the Middleton family home in Berkshire. Getty