Royal Christmas will likely be cancelled because of pandemic public-gathering rules

Royals Xmas Day church

The Windsors have so many “traditions” when it comes to Christmas. They still adhere to the Germanic traditions of their ancestors, and the Queen feels strongly that Christmas is a time for strict rules, dozens of costume changes, a lot of liquor, and quiet contemplation in church. There are actually tons of rules about the kids too, and what part of Christmas little kids are allowed to participate in and all of that. Basically, Royal Christmas is a tightass convention and they’ve been needing to shake things up for years. And now it’s finally happening, because of the pandemic:

The traditional Royal Christmas faces being scrapped if the current Covid-19 regulations continue, The Mail on Sunday can reveal. The Queen, Prince Charles and senior Royals will be unlikely to walk to church in public on Christmas Day, enjoy a family lunch at Sandringham or take part in the long-established Christmas Eve present opening and dinner.

The ‘rule of six’, which limits almost all indoor and outdoor gatherings to half a dozen from tomorrow, may mean the Queen, like everyone else, will have to choose who she spends the festive period with. When the crackdown was announced last week, Boris Johnson was unable to guarantee that the rules would be gone by Christmas.

Arrangements are further complicated by ‘HMS Bubble’, the name coined for protective measures thrown around the Queen and Prince Philip to protect them from the virus. It means members of their family cannot stay with them unless they first self-isolate.

Courtiers are understood to be reluctant to encourage crowds, where infections become more likely, so could torpedo plans for the traditional walk to St Mary Magdalene Church on the Sandringham estate. Last year, some 1,500 wellwishers flocked to see Prince George and Princess Charlotte attend their first public service and greet the crowds.

‘Any sort of church attendance on Christmas Day is highly unlikely under the current guidelines,’ a source said. ‘There is no desire to create crowds and over the years, the Royals’ walk to church has become more and more popular. It is now something of an event, so this year will need to be looked at very carefully. Perhaps it could be ticketed, as the church does stand on private land, but there could be no interaction. The Royals do not want to encourage crowds.’

The Queen’s custom of hosting about 30 of her closest family for lunch at the Norfolk estate before watching her speech to the nation is also under threat, as is the opening of presents together on Christmas Eve.

[From The Daily Mail]

I bet that there will still be pretty strict social distancing and crowd rules over Christmas. I don’t think we’ll get a viable vaccine until 2021, and we’ll probably be well into 2021 before things return to anything resembling “normal.” Which means that even the Windsors will have to change things up. Ten bucks says that the Cambridges just go to Bucklebury and spend Christmas with the Middletons. Ten bucks says that the Sussexes don’t even try to fly in for anything. Ten bucks says that there will be no Christmas walk to church.

Queen's Christmas broadcast

Duke & Duchess of Cambridge leaving Sandringham Church after the Xmas Day service with Princess Charlotte and Prince George.

Royals Xmas Day church

Photos courtesy of WENN, Avalon Red.

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86 Responses to “Royal Christmas will likely be cancelled because of pandemic public-gathering rules”

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  1. Aurora says:

    I love that the Sussexes won’t have to set foot in the UK again this year for any family crap.

  2. aquarius64 says:

    Looking forward to a Sussex Christmas.

  3. Sofia says:

    I doubt the Sussexes will try flying in until the flying regulations/quarantine calm down a bit – which honestly doesn’t seem likely at this point. I think the next time they’ll be in the UK is spring 2021

  4. Jen says:

    This pandemic is really showing how useless a monarchy is at this point in history. Their main function is to walk and smile and now they can’t do that.

    Abolish the monarchy!

    • Seraphina says:

      I agree 100%. And the FFK and FFQC don’t want to work anyway so just do away with it. Would it not be great if they had to sustain their own living for a change?

    • Myra says:

      Didn’t you know? They’ve been zooming themselves to an early grave. We are now in the era of ‘Royals, they are just like top CEOs’

    • Sid says:

      I never watched The Crown before but have been doing a binge-watch recently in order to catch up for the coming season covering the Diana years. I know the show is a combination of fact and fiction, but the 3 seasons taken all together made feel like I was watching a death by a thousand cuts. It will be interesting to see what, if anything, is left for young George 50 or so years from now.

    • Sarah says:

      Agreed, please put my taxes to a better use.

    • minx says:

      I can’t believe the BRF is still chugging along in 2020. Ridiculous.

  5. Snazzy says:

    Maybe just a church walk with Lizzie and Andrew? You know she’s going to keep protecting him all she can…

  6. Merricat says:

    No pomp, no self-gratifying glory–this must be the worst year of Kate’s life.

    • Lizzie says:

      Maybe she will buy a new coat with buttons just in case ?

    • Mumbles says:

      I dunno. She looks so self-conscious and awkward at these things. Methinks she prefers sitting at home, doing nothing. I think she likes one or two events just to remind everyone she’s a future queen, but other than that, it’s “work” and she doesn’t like it. Remember the year she refused to give the dog of the Irish Guards his shamrocks on St Patrick’s Day?

      • Sofia says:

        If she doesn’t like it Mumbles, she can divorce William and marry a rich man who doesn’t get his money from the taxpayers.

        Whether she likes it or not, she’s married to a man who is going to be the future king of a monarchy that calls itself “The Firm” and expects it’s senior royals to work. She’s known about this for almost 20 years. Again, if she doesn’t like it, she knows where the exit is and I urge her to seriously consider it if she seriously hates waving to people a few hours a week.

      • BayTampaBay says:

        I wonder if William would like to see her go????

      • MsIam says:

        If she preferred that then why the public church walk when they had Christmas at her parents home. Didn’t look like she was avoiding the spotlight, just avoiding her in-laws. Amazing how she and William never get any shit for being “normal” but Harry and Meghan should be burned at the stake for wanting the same things.

      • February-Pisces says:

        Kate is a contradiction in herself. She love attention and being in the spotlight but she actually hates getting off her arse and actually doing anything. She has no problem attending the BAFTA’s or Wimbledon every year and yet one of her patronage’s has to wait 8 years for a visit. I think she’s just selective and only interested in the glamorous side that comes with being a royal, whilst slacking off the dull boring bits that don’t interest her.

  7. GuestWho says:

    I image the entire family is breathing a huge sigh of relief. It all sounds like a dreadful way to spend the holidays.

  8. L84Tea says:

    I remember Kate seemed super annoyed last year at having to do the pap walk since they didn’t get to do their own Christmas morning, so W&K will surely go to Middleton Manor for Christmas this year. Cue the pearl clutching and all the “what if this is Phillip’s last Christmas??” hysteria…oh wait, silly me. They only did that when H&M skipped an event.

    The only other thing I have is that I actually loved the colors Kate wore last year. I am not normally a fan of deep hunter green, but the way she paired it with the light gray was gorgeous. As for Will and his purple scarf, he looked like a magician.

    • BayTampaBay says:

      If there is a rule of six still enforce than the Cambridges cannot go to Middleton Manor either as Ma & Pam Middleton plus five Cambridges equal seven people.

      • L84Tea says:

        Ooh, I didn’t even think about that. Poor Mike Middleton. He’ll have to go stay in the greenhouse.

      • Seraphina says:

        L84Tea, thank you for the hearty laugh your comment gave me. But I have a feeling Mike Middleton may prefer that.

      • (TheOG) Jan90067 says:

        Kate and the kids will go; William will stay behind to make sure his Rose Bush is covered (in case of early frost, of course! Isn’t Hurricane Kate supposed to blow?)

    • Becks1 says:

      I didn’t love the faux fur, but overall I did think it was one of her better Christmas outfits. You cant even really notice the buttons (but of course they’re there, lol.)

    • tee says:

      i loved her look and that she was subtly matching with charlotte. idk, last christmas she seemed at peak confidence.

      • Beach Dreams says:

        Nah, she was definitely upset/stressed about something at the last Christmas walk. Videos of the event showed her constantly looking weary, putting on a fake smile at other royals only to drop it immediately afterward, and seeming irritated when Will talked to her. Maybe it was due to having to manage the older kids, but Kate was not a happy or confident camper last year imo.

    • Capepopsie says:

      @L84Tea: Ah, but that’s because he IS a
      magician! Bouncing between ladies. . . .

    • (TheOG) Jan90067 says:

      The Sussexes will probably STILL get shit for “…not throwing all to the wind and coming for what is likely *gasp* ” Phillip’s last Christmas!!!” You’ll see…there WILL be articles and commentary about it, and how Harry “prefers” to be with Doria.

      (Frankly, I think the old goat will outlive Petty Betty! He’ll still be there, at Wood Farm, living out his days with his Pretty Penny).

  9. Amy Bee says:

    Christmas with the Queen sounds terrible.

  10. ABritGuest says:

    The royal reporters must be starving. No royal tours for the foreseeable future, Sussex leaks seem to be over & US outlets getting scoops& now no Christmas walk. No wonder they were so excited by when the Diana memorial news was announced even though it’s next summer& they had all those brothers’ reunion articles. And no wonder they seem to be prodding Kate to have another baby.

    • Amy Bee says:

      The news about the Diana statue one year in advance was KP throwing a bone to the starving British media.

    • the duchess says:

      The Cambridge’s might just have to provide a 4th child to see them through the royal drought. We all know the British Media are salivating for material (now the Sussexes have broken free / no more leaks occurring) and with the affair story hanging over like a ghost, the tabloids won’t stay silent for long. W&K seek protection and we know they’ll do almost anything for it. Even if it makes things 100x worse in the long run.

      • Nic919 says:

        They would have to be in the same location for that to happen and I don’t think they been in the same place since early August. William has been noted as doing events in London or Northern Ireland and Kate has only been seen at Amner if at all.

    • Kitten says:

      ABritGuest says. “The royal reporters must be starving.”

      They could always start hounding Andrew for his affairs, questionable finances, and not talking to the FBI.

      Oh wait.

  11. NotSoSimpleTaylor says:

    I’m sure everyone in the British Royal Family is relieved to have a break this year from pretending they’re one big happy family. But I wouldn’t be surprised if Charles heads out to Montecito and tries to drag the Cambridges along so the reconcilation headlines can commence.

  12. Lizzie says:

    It would be really funny if Harry, Meghan and Archie spent Christmas with Charles and the queen.
    I read on another site that Kate threw a huge fit when Doria was invited to Christmas by the queen because her parents never have been.

    • BnLurkN4eva says:

      I don’t think Doria was ever invited to Christmas either. Someone please correct me, but wasn’t that just a BM rumor that never panned out and Doria was nowhere near the royal Christmas?

      • Lizzie says:

        I thought the invitation was extended but Doria did not go. But as you say maybe it was rumor.

      • lanne says:

        I don’t think they ever invited her. I think they floated the rumor, just for “plausible deniability”–they could benefit from “looking” welcoming without actually “being” welcoming. If she were invited, I imagine Doria would go–it would be one way of showing the BM that Meghan was actually welcome. That’s why I call bullshit on the invite. It was never granted–the RF wasn’t about to give Meghan any hint of support. How do we know that’s true? By the fact that they gave her NOT ONE GODDAMN HINT OF SUPPORT!

      • BnLurkN4eva says:

        What lanne said.

      • Becks1 says:

        @Lanne, I agree, if Doria was invited she 100% would have gone – she would have understood the significance of the invite and would not have turned it down. I think the rumor of an invite was put out there to make it seem like the RF was welcoming without them actually having to BE welcoming.

      • MsIam says:

        I think if that were true it would have been in Finding Freedom. The book did try and address some of the bigger rumors out there and the “Doria for Christmas dinner” was a big one. Plus Christmas sounds horrible with all of the protocol and dressing up and who can eat when and who sits where. I bet Doria was glad to avoid all of that.

    • Nic919 says:

      Sophie’s father has been invited because he is a widower and if an invitation was extended to Doria it was probably because she would have had to come to the UK for the holidays and she couldn’t just be left on her own. I don’t think Kate had a fit about her parents not being invited because they stay at Amner when they do Sandringham Christmas. Maybe Carole had a fit though, I can see that.

      • February-Pisces says:

        I’m sure every year Ma tries to bag an invite to the Christmas church service just so she can do the church walk with the queen.

  13. Becks1 says:

    I’m sure Kate is actually happy about this, she can have her family Christmas at Bucklebury or Anmer Hall, even if there are rules I’m sure the royals aren’t going to follow them. Like, I think if Kate wants to spend Christmas with her family, even though it would be more than 6 people, that’s what she’ll do.

    • Lizzie says:

      I thought their job was to support government guidelines. That was the excuse when they appeared in public without masks, it wasn’t a mandate and they could not undermine the government.

      • Becks1 says:

        That’s what people keep insisting, lol, but I think we all know that the royals are going to do what they want. (like travel to Scotland while sick.)

      • Nic919 says:

        Are their kids in school? Seems like the rest of the UK has sent their kids and there has been silence on that end. Not sending them to school would surely undermine confidence in the Tory government.

    • Sarah says:

      Surely once you count their staff they are already at more than 6 (which is fine if you’re a ‘household’) so no one can go to them and they could only visit someone who lives alone.

    • February-Pisces says:

      I think anyone that any of the royals come into contact with are tested before hand, including staff etc, I’m sure they all get Covid testing on a regular, so if kate wants to spend time with her family at Xmas I’m sure she will do it as long as they have all been tested and are in the clear. I guess it’s one of the perks of being royal.

      Has anyone notice that the Cambridge’s kids aren’t in school yet? All the kids in the Uk have gone back now but I haven’t seen any pics yet, and you know they never miss a photo op.

    • Carolind says:

      No way! The press will be watching their every move. They really would be crucified.

  14. Snuffles says:

    It’s a California Christmas for the Sussex’s!! Again. 😛

    • (TheOG) Jan90067 says:

      Last year was in Canada, on the island. THIS year, is a California Christmas. Hope they take one on the beach, for HIS family, with a two-finger salute.

  15. Lizzie says:

    At least they don’t have to come up with and awkward excuse for hiding Andrew on the church walk or worrying that protesters could actually show up.

  16. Louise177 says:

    Even without the new regulations it’s doubtful they would do the traditional Christmas festivities. Too many people for both public and private events. Although people say they could fly private, it doesn’t make sense for the Sussexes to travel now because of restrictions.

    • (TheOG) Jan90067 says:

      Even flying private, you’re still supposed to quarantine for 2 wks. upon landing. And Cali/US is on EVERYONE’S no-fly list because we can’t get our shit together and wear a friggin’ mask or social distance (at least in the red states/areas).

      I wouldn’t travel, period, unless it was a real emergency, and I sure as hell wouldn’t take an infant/toddler ANYWHERE other than my own backyard until it was “safe” (ie: vaccine/therapies)

  17. Lizzie says:

    Will and Kate will never again do the Christmas walk with Harry and Meghan. They will spend Christmas with the Middleton’s instead.

  18. Maybe (and this is more realistic), maybe the rest of the BRF is in such a high state of agitation that spending any kind of time with Kate and William would set all of them off. Just think on it: WK are responsible for Harry and Meg being driven out. A prince of the Blood has been overthrown and so has his consort. Now the plans that Charles had for a double act have gone up in flames and he will have to literally start from scratch all over again. Not just that, but diplomats and politicians will have to work to restructure their entire dossiers and portfolios and at the same time, maintain stability in order to avoid chaos that is always something that politicians and diplomats fear the most. Even in the best of times, it takes insanely hard work to maintain the kind of stability that normal people get to enjoy and now, thanks to WK, all of them have to work tent times harder to prevent chaos at the top.

    If WK were to make an appearance at Sandringham, among the entire BRF, I am dead sure that tempers would be lost and a lot of screaming matches would occur. I am dead sure that Princess Anne would lose it and HM and Philip are too old to have to deal with that kind of tension that WK’s presence would bring. It would just be too much for even the youngest and healthiest person to have to handle. There is no way that WK would credibly sit in a church and pray to the Lord while having been instrumental in overthrowing what many believe to be the divine order, the God created succession. Then after that, the entire BRF sits down at a fine family meal and three members of HM’s family are missing because they were driven out of the family because of WK’s selfishness. I cannot imagine just how enraged everyone would be or how much more HM would be able to take and not explode.

    • lanne says:

      Unfortunately, all the discord you mention is pretty damn normal. This is the family that, when pictures of Fergie getting her toes sucked made the papers (she was at Balmoral at the time), they made sure those newspapers were on the table so everyone can see them. And quite frankly, I think William has no problem bowing his head to the lord while driving out his brother. My favorite bumper sticker is “Jesus, protect me from your followers!” With that crowd, what matters is that everything is “looking” all right, not people are actually feeling all right.

      • There is a difference between toe sucking and overthrowing the succession. Huge difference and thing is, that Fergie was not part of the BRF by right; she was expendable and the succession was not completely affected.

    • tcbc says:

      Do diplomats and foreign dignitaries really care about the royals? Meeting them is a nice story, and you can hang the photo in your office, but the real work gets done with other diplomats and elected representatives and their staffs. If the royals went away, only the courtiers and the press would care.

    • HeatherC says:

      I don’t understand, maybe I’m not reading it right? But the succession has not changed. And Harry hasn’t been “overthrown”. He is still in the line of succession and is still behind William (and now his kids). Charles is still the next in line.

      • Liz says:

        @Heatherc Yeah, you’re right: succession-wise, nothing has changed. Plus, I don’t think Princess Anne et al have the emotional bandwidth to care too much about Harry having been hurt. I think they all probably feel some form of love and affection for their own children, but aren’t really capable of caring about anyone beyond that (well, Edward seems like he might be programmed a little more human).

        I also don’t think they see Meghan and Archie as actual people-with-feelings for a number of reasons that are regularly discussed here.

        If they’re mad at W & K about anything, it’s the potential existential instability for the monarchy that has resulted from H&M leaving.

  19. Jay says:

    I have to say, one of the only good things about this pandemic has been me getting to wipe out looming stressful social or family engagements from my 2020 calendar, guilt free.
    Not much of a silver lining, but maybe the queen (or her people) feel the same way – she can give her Christmas speech, maybe go to church, and then, I don’t know, get drunk and watch the Doctor Who special, with a minimum of loud children, and obnoxious or potentially indicted bores.

    Putting this news out now hopefully means we won’t have to endure months of speculation over who will be part of the church walk etc. Also, I really doubt Kate and William were coming this year, aren’t they due for a vacation? Poor dears have been zooming weekly, time for a month long break;)

    • Lady D says:

      Her Christmas sounds like the Godfather’s, with everyone gathering to offer due obeisance to the head of the family. I wonder how many of the relatives she only sees at Christmas hit her up for cash or other help? ‘If you can spare some cash auntie, the roof is practically falling in at the castle or, grandma I’ve got a great business idea, I just need some cash to get it off the ground or, I could really use a cheap place to live for awhile?
      It’s probably also an opportunity for her to hand out special little gifts to her favourites, whether family or friends. I wonder what kind of gift Angela Kelly gets from the queen, or does she cheap out with the help too? LOL, what am I saying, of course she gets cheap with the help. It seems to me all her staff get a little candle with her insignia or some small similar item at Christmas. I hope AK is treated the same way.
      Randomly, the queen at Christmas also reminds me of Shelob in her lair, drawing in her victims.

    • Lizzie says:

      When I was young I had a big extended family with big holiday party’s that were really too large for anyone’s home. Then we lost the greats – grandparents, aunts and uncles. But we were getting older and getting married. Then we lost our parents, aunts and uncles. Many children went away to collage and never moved back. I would give anything to go to just one of those party’s again.

      • ravynrobyn says:

        @ Lizzie~I know exactly how you feel. I was just telling my brother Sunday that I would give**anything**to have Thanksgiving at my grandma & grandpa’s house with cousins and everyone in between. To taste my grandma’s stuffing & gravy; to watch my young brothers and even younger cousins giggle as they put the green & black olives on all of their fingers & thumbs; and most of all, hearing my grandma say “Don’t worry, I’ve never gone hungry yet” when being pleaded with to just stop fussing and sit down and eat 😅😢

  20. Nyro says:

    Windsor Christmas sounds like a joyless hell. Anyway, I love Beatrice’s camel coat and belt combo.

  21. Digital Unicorn says:

    You can bet that there will be a Cambridge church pap stroll and hunt – just like the cut price one that they did a few years ago. There is NO WAY they will pass up an opportunity to carry on this ‘tradition’ to embiggen themselves. And you can bet it will also feature the entire Middleton clan – those royal court wannabe’s. Am calling it now.

  22. RedWeatherTiger says:

    I can hear the desperate wailing of the all the red and green buttony coats that will not be worn publicly this holiday season.

  23. Chris says:

    I am so happy the Sussexes don’t have to fly to that little island to spend a WACK Christmas with the Windsors!! They would not have been able to see baby Archie! The royal children do not sit at the table with the adults, instead they have their Christmas Diner in the nursery with the nannies! How cold is that? I have also heard that the adult diner is very stressful. Dress code, black ties, 20 something courses, and you have to stop eating when the Queen is finished! The entire Christmas Week end has so many rules! It would drives me nuts! I am so glad the Sussexes are going to enjoy their Christmas in sunny Santa Barbara, with Mama Doria. Baby Archie is going to have blast!

  24. Mariane says:

    The sussexs thankfully don’t have to be around these snakes! KeenKueen kate might be unhappy about not being able to show off her Christmas button coat dress. I’m sure they’ll arrange for photographers to come do a similar thing at st mary church

  25. yinyang says:

    Oh no we wont be able to see Kate playing up to the cameras.

  26. RoyalBlue says:

    after charles caught covid the households have switched to survival mode. they dispatched the main heirs in different parts of the country with hardly much physical interaction as far as we could see. we are not even sure if Willnot is currently residing in the same location as George and only the queen showed up at Bea’s wedding. it would make sense they would not all show up at christmas this year.

  27. Carolind says:

    Going by English Covid rules at the moment Kate and William cannot go to her parents for Christmas or vice versa. Only up to 6 people from 2 households can be together under the same roof.

    In Scotland children under 12 do not count but they do in England so unless the law is changed in the meantime the Middletons and Cambridges will not be together at Christmas. You can also bet your bottom dollar the press will be after them if they do try to meet under current regulations.