Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been excited for weeks to hear what a Royal Pandemic Christmas would look like, and I was sort of disappointed that the Queen gave in and decided to simply spend the holiday locked up in Windsor Castle with Prince Philip. I assumed – as did many others – that the Queen would likely get to see her favorite relatives on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. Her faves are the Countess of Wessex and the Duke of York, and most people are still assuming that Sophie and Andrew will check in on Liz and Phil at some point. As for Prince Charles, he’s 72 years old and literally no one would have held it against him if he just wanted to spend the holiday with his wife, tucked away at Highgrove. But no – apparently Charles IS going to travel to see his mummy on Christmas.
Christmas might not be such a lonely time for the Queen after all. Her eldest son Prince Charles is planning a visit to Windsor Castle so that he can see his parents over Christmas, sources have told Vanity Fair. Charles has decided that with the traditional Sandringham celebrations canceled, he will celebrate Christmas with Camilla at their Gloucestershire home before travelling to Windsor for a second Christmas celebration with the Queen and Prince Philip, who are self-isolating at Windsor Castle.
A source close to Charles told Vanity Fair that the prince’s plans for Christmas are a “Highgrove affair with a side order of Ray Mill and an amuse-bouche at Windsor.” Ray Mill is the Duchess of Cornwall’s Wiltshire home and where Camilla hosts a Christmas lunch for her children Tom and Laura and her grandchildren every year after the traditional Christmas Day feast at Sandringham. When Camilla heads to Ray Mill House Charles plans to travel to Windsor Castle to pay his parents a brief festive visit.
“That’s the plan at the moment,” added the source. “It means that they can see their families while sticking to the government guidelines.” From December 23 to 27, rules around social-distancing will be relaxed across the UK so that up to three households can mingle.
I always forget that Camilla literally keeps a second home for just herself, so she can spend time with her kids and grandkids and – one would assume – drink a bottle of wine in peace. It’s also assumed that Camilla maintains the residence because she likes having her own space away from Charles. Charles doesn’t like children running around Highgrove, so Camilla gets to spend more time with her grandkids at Ray Mill.
(Also: don’t you love how no one is even suggesting that Charles would go out of his way to see William, Kate and his only grandchildren currently residing in the UK?)
Here’s something I didn’t realize before I read Nicoll’s coverage in Vanity Fair – the royals used to always do Christmas at Windsor, then they switched to Sandringham in 1988 and it was so successful, the Queen changed it over permanently. Also: did you know that for traditional royal Christmases, you have to SHOW UP at Sandringham in order of descending hierarchy? As in, the furthest down in the line of succession show up first, and then Charles and Camilla are the last to arrive. And on Christmas Eve, royals have to open their gifts IN ORDER OF PRECEDENCE TOO.
Photos courtesy of Avalon Red.