Prince Charles will travel to Windsor alone on Christmas to see his parents

State Opening of Parliament

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.

[From Vanity Fair]

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.

The Prince Of Wales And The Duchess Of Cornwall Celebrate London's Night Economy

Royal visit to London gallery

Photos courtesy of Avalon Red.

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53 Responses to “Prince Charles will travel to Windsor alone on Christmas to see his parents”

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  1. Becks1 says:

    Huh, I didn’t know they only started doing Christmas there in 1988. Well THERE YOU GO Charles, that’s something the Crown got wrong, because they definitely showed them having Christmas there in the 50s and 60s, you’re vindicated, LOL. (at least that was the impression I got, but maybe it was never stated?)

    The precedence thing is insane to me but I guess that’s how the family operates for everything. But you cant be surprised that someone like Harry grew up resenting it when something as simple and supposedly happy as opening Christmas presents was based on hierarchy. It seems its reinforced at every turn. No wonder he wanted Archie out of there.

    • Julie says:

      So true. This Christmas party would be contrary to everything I teach my children about equality.

    • Dilettante says:

      God forbid a moment should go by without a reminder about who is more/the most “important”. What a life…….

  2. Leanne says:

    Arriving in descending order of precedence for a family luncheon and opening presents in order of precedence ….. It seems obvious that these practices lead to mental stability and healthy familial relationships, right? Maybe we should all adopt it for our own families.

    • BayTampaBay says:

      I think the person who came up with idea was mentally unstable.

      I am sure Camilla is very happy that she does not have to attend the BRF Christmas celebration. I would be very happy not to attend.

      • Kalana says:

        The Queen allowed it to continue. Gives a little glimpse into how she thinks.

        It’s odd that all sit there and watch one person open all their gifts before they can move on to someone else. That would really mess with people’s heads.

      • Becks1 says:

        We do that in my family, to a certain extent. Growing up (I’m one of 4 kids) Christmas morning was just pure chaos, and then around the time I was 8 we started doing it one at a time, and we still do that even with my kids – the 8 year old opens a present, then the 6 year old (sometimes the 6 year old goes first, we rotate) and then when we open other family gifts we alternate as well. But I think that’s different than just one person opening all their gifts before you can move on. Also, we don’t do it based on rank…..

    • Chris says:

      And don’t forget not being able to sit where you want during diner time. Always walking behind the first in line blah blah I would hate spending Christmas there. You don’t even get to see your kids on a Children Holiday!!

  3. (TheOG) Jan90067 says:

    This is literally a family that sucks the very life’s joy out of pretty much everything. How rigid and boring. It’s one thing to have all this protocol and precedent garbage in public, because…QUEEN! But in private, behind closed doors, with JUST FAMILY…and CLOSE family at that (not even that extended lunch thing she does the week before)…but in the family HOME… on HOLIDAYS. Between all that, and the changing of clothes 5 times (incl. gowns and tiaras for Christmas dinner), the forced scheduled times for everything/one…

    I don’t like Cam, but she has the right idea: stay the hell away, and take the wine with you!

    • Julie says:

      The bit that blew my mind is reading in Finding Freedom that the men have breakfast together in full dress and the women breakfast by themselves in their rooms. Like, what if I’m an early riser who likes some morning joviality with my damn breakfast but happen to have a vagina? What if my husband is a late riser who doesn’t much appreciate getting dressed up to grumpily sip on some coffee. Lol.

      • Becks1 says:

        It reminds me of Gosford Park – the men are up early having breakfast and the women are attending to their gowns and eating breakfast and gossiping and getting dressed etc.

    • Amy Too says:

      I think part of it is probably putting on a show for the help. I highly doubt any of them are truly ever alone, there always a footman in the corner to serve tea or a butler overseeing the handing out of the presents or something, I would imagine. And heaven forbid anyone, ever, get the idea that the RF are just regular people. Because if they’re regular people, why should they be waited on and exalted? I’m thinking of downtown abbey where they were all very careful about how they acted and what they said to each other unless they were in their bedrooms after the maid was dismissed. You can’t have the peasants seeing you as human beings with regular human being emotions. And since the Queen appears to be stuck on what her parents did, she’s probably operating a lot like downtown abbey, but MORE.

      • Elizabeth Phillips says:

        Yes, the Queen is stuck on what George VI and Elizabeth did, and George VI was stuck on what George V and Mary did, and George V was stuck on what Edward VII and Alexandra did, and Edward VII was stuck on what Victoria and Albert did, and Victoria and Albert were stuck on what their German ancestors (including George III and Charlotte) did.

    • Tessa says:

      Camilla was lucky she got to keep her own residence, and have some space from Charles.

  4. Amy Bee says:

    Royal Christmases sound terrible. You’d think that for at least one day, they’d forget about protocol and just enjoy the day together as a family. But they’re really not a family. Apparently Christmas lunch at Sandringham is usually cold cuts because there’s no staff to cook a hot meal. Just terrible. I can see why Harry and Meghan decided two Christmases with the Royal Family were enough for them.

    • Becks1 says:

      I think – I’m not positive about this but – they have the big Christmas lunch in London, and Christmas Eve is the big Sandringham meal, and then Christmas day is usually a smaller meal. But they still change clothes a dozen times or whatever.

    • Ines says:

      Yes, they celebrate on Christmas eve. German tradition.

      • KatV says:

        And Danish, and Swedish etc. A lot of countries celebrate on Christmas Eve. But yes, you are right, the Windsors do descend from Germany.
        We get all our presents the 24th in the evening. Quite a mess with small kids being tired.
        I think the BRF is special in being this “stiff” our Royal Family (Denmark) seems to have a quite “normal” Christmas ( when Covid is not around)

  5. 809Matriarch says:


  6. Kalana says:

    Did Camilla refuse to go? Does her bubble consist of her kids and grandkids?

    Camilla will finally get to spend Christmas with her kids and grandkids and the York sisters will actually get to spend Christmas with both their parents. It’s a Christmas miracle.

    • Noodle says:

      Does Charles get along with Camilla’s children and grandchildren? If one of my parents remarried, it would be really weird to me to spend Christmas with just that parent and NOT have the step-parent (or the Royal version, whatever they call it) with them.

      • Kalana says:

        One of the biographies on William mentioned a fight between Laura and William. She shouted about Charles ruining her family. I don’t think they’re all close but are probably generally polite with each other.

      • Julie says:

        Just my personal assessment but I think Charles resents anyone who consumes her “maternal energies”. I can’t figure out how else to explain a man with a massive mansion needing his wife to host her grandkids on a different property. It’s a mansion Charles, spend half an hour with them then retire to your study “to work” like other curmudgeon granddad’s.

      • Liz version 700 says:

        Yeah, Charles seems petty even to the point of being jealous of those grandkids. He sounds like such a draining person.

      • Becks1 says:

        I think he roughly gets along with them. He was holding one of the grandkids on the balcony at Will and Kate’s wedding. I don’t think they’re super young at this point? (just googled, the youngest one is 10.) I always thought the whole “Camilla spends Christmas with her grandkids” was really just a get out of jail free card for camila, so she had an excuse to avoid the royal Christmas.

      • Julie says:

        Holding a kid up at a televised event is hardly evidence of getting along or even liking them. Camilla ostensibly keeps the house just miles for High Grove to entertain her kids and grandkids which makes no sense if he has no issue with them.

      • Becks1 says:

        @Julie – also see Tessa’s comment below about Charles being photographed with one of Camilla’s granddaughters (but not Charlotte.) I think Camilla keeps the house because living FT with Charles was never what she wanted and she pretty much does what she wants. I mean I could be wrong, but my impression has always been that the separation is more about Camilla than Charles.

      • NiqGee says:

        @Becks1, this is my impression as well. I think Camilla keeping her own house was a way to assert a modicum of independence – someplace she can go where she can just be Camilla Shand. Not Parker-Bowles or Cornwall/Wales. Where she can drink all her wine, stay in pajamas all day and watch trash tv all day if the fancy strikes without having to defer or explain to anyone. It’s pretty bold given the rest of the family. It helps that she literally has Charles wrapped around her finger so that no one brings it up as a negative.

      • Courtney B says:

        There are photos of him being affectionate and very playful with the grandkids which we haven’t seen, at least publicly, with his own. I think they get along fine. It’s not like Andrew wasn’t running around too and he and Camilla stayed very friendly after his remarriage. She, and Anne, were supportive when he was widowed.

    • Sofia says:

      I honestly think Camilla doesn’t care much for the “royal life” including the Christmas celebrations so she does what she needs to do but that’s it.

      Plus who knows how “frosty” the the BRF are towards Camilla? She might decide it’s not worth sitting in a room of people who range from barely tolerating you to outright not liking you (if relationships are frosty)

      • molly says:

        I agree that Camilla doesn’t care much about all the royal life stuff. It came out right away that she’d be watching The Crown with a glass of wine. Charles is the one all obsessed with the title Queen Consort and crafting his image as beloved future king. Camilla participates in it all because she loves Charles, but she clearly has enough of her own life to balance out the worst of the B.S.

    • Tessa says:

      Oddly, Charles was pictured with one of Camilla’s granddaughters in a photo op for his 70th birthday but no one on one photo with Little Charlotte his only granddaughter so far. Charles did not look thrilled holding up Camilla’s granddaughter up on the balcony. Camillla probably told him he should.

  7. Yup, Me says:

    That order of precedent thing is insane. It’s funny- people focus on the posture of a princess/duchess or the tea etiquette aspects of the training for married in ladies, but the real hard-core education is always knowing and abiding by who is “superior” and who is “inferior” to you in a room at all times.

    Also, Charles’ eyes are so close together on his face. I’m astounded every time I notice it.

    • Julie says:

      And don’t forget that if you marry into this family your status is determined by whether your spouse is in the room. Your spouses absence can drop you several ranks.

      • Purpeller says:

        The thing is: if they don’t drink their own koolaid, how would they ever get anyone else to?

  8. Feeshalori says:

    How exhausting. Talk about sucking the joy out of Christmas! Is there an equerry present maintaining order and reading aloud from a list the precedence to opening gifts? “Oh, no, Prince Edward, get your greedy guts hands off your gifts, Prince Pedo goes first!” “I saw you peeling the tape from that present, Countess Sophie, you know Duchess Keen is before you!” How uncomfortable to have all eyes on a single person opening up their gifts. Do the children open gifts in order of precedence? I’d love to see that in action! These are the important things that keep me awake at night. Inquiring minds want to know!

  9. MaryContrary says:

    So Meghan and Harry get dragged for not bringing Archie on a 10 hour trans Atlantic flight to see the Queen/Charles during a pandemic, but not a peep about Charles not seeing his other 3 grandchildren who live in the UK?

    • Tessa says:

      The Cambridges will probably be at the Middletons with their “stans” praising them for it. But it is “bad” if the Sussexes spend time with her mother.

  10. Amy Bee says:

    Apparently, Charles is also stickler for protocol and William insists that people call him ‘Sir’ so anyone who believes that things will change after the Queen dies are mistaken.

    • Becks1 says:

      I mean, protocol and hierarchy is all they have. They need to constantly reinforce the hierarchy, especially among staff and the public, or else what’s the point of the royals? if you can just call William “Wills” and give him a high five like he’s just the guy next door, then why does he deserves millions of pounds a year to support himself and his family? Most ordinary men work (or at least pretend to, depending on family wealth.)

      I say its the greatest trick the Cambridges have pulled – convincing the world they are just a normal family while continuing every stuffy royal protocol and tradition.

      • Lady D says:

        What I want to know is what happens if someone is late walking into lunch? If they have to walk in using the order of precedence, does that mean the rest of the line-up waits for the late ones to arrive? What if you have to nurse your baby when the gifts are being opened? Again, does everyone wait because precedence, or do they skip that individual and go to the next in line, which would be insulting to those skipped? There is always someone who is late, always.

  11. Julie says:

    Slightly OT but I find it so bizarre how the tabloids never make an issue of Charles and Camillas living arrangements. She even went off to Ray Mill to recover from her hysterectomy which surely is indicative of some really screwed up dynamic in which she nurtures him but feels she shouldn’t disrupt him with her issues. I thought tabloids exist to expose fake fairy tale narrative??

    • Kalana says:

      They don’t want the monarchy to end or be too damaged, just like they didn’t really want Harry and Meghan to leave. What happened in 1997 was the press throwing the royals under the bus to distract people from scrutinizing the press.

      They can’t puncture Charles’ redemption story.

      • Dollycoa says:

        You’re exactly right. There is no way in the world William wants things to change when he is King. Hes got it too good. The entire purpose of the Royal Fsmily is to keep the Monarchy alive. They will do whatever it takes to cement their position at the Top. William and Kate’s ‘ oh we’re an ordinary working couple’ act is just an excuse to do the bare minimum necessary to maintain the status quo.

  12. SpankFD says:

    You have to constantly drum in the idiocy to brainwash the competition. Liz, Chuck, Wills & George just aren’t special enough. They lack the merits, the skills, the talents needed to be true leaders. Daily enforcement of hierarchy – bowing, curtsying, arriving. gift opening — is a desperate attempt to maintain unearned authority.

    Might Meritocracy be a better way to ensure your leaders stay in step with the populace? And lead it?

    Now if only we could implement term limits on SCOTUS, we’d be on a roll…

  13. Le4Frimaire says:

    Does the press focus much on Camilla’s children? Are they thirsty the way the Middleton’s are or do they just go about their lives. In the whole Charles/Diana/ Camilla thing I kind of feel sorry for her kids as well, knowing both their parents had these outside affairs that everyone knew about. Anyway, Christmas will be very subdued this year and just feeling so unmotivated. The thing with this royal Christmas is that after this year, everyone will be looking to see what photos are put out for the Queen’s message and whether Phil will make it through the next year.

    • Original Penguin says:

      Not at all. You only really see them at some of the races that Camilla attends. Tom PB is a food critic for one of the big magazines, I doubt he would be in that position if he wasn’t her son though.

  14. Izzy says:

    Wow. And people accuse US of waging a War on Christmas, meanwhile this crazy family sucks all the joy out of the holidays.

  15. Bread and Circuses says:

    Charles and Camilla both recovered from COVID19, so presumably Charles is safe to visit his mother now, and also safe to return to Camilla without a quarantine.

    My family always had us line up by height (smallest first) to go downstairs for Christmas morning. It got fun when the grandkids started getting taller than the grandparents.

  16. Original Penguin says:

    I get the feeling that Highgrove is very much Charles’ escape from the world. It was portrayed well in the Crown as such, it is very much his rather than a family home. They share Clarence House and then escape to their own country domains.

    Can you imagine the publicity if her kids were coming to stay at Highgrove or Clarence House all the time? This way she gets to host her kids and grand kids when she wants yet nobody knows/sees/can get faux-offended on the internet