Queen Elizabeth likes an ‘undercurrent of austerity & duty’ for royal Christmas

Coronavirus - Sun Apr 5, 2020

There are little niche gossip stories which I’m always here for, and one of my favorite gossip niches is “stories about how royal Christmas is ridiculously strict and Germanic.” In non-pandemic years, the Windsors’ royal Christmas is structured like a military operation, with protocol on when people arrive at Sandringham, very strict dress codes and easily a dozen costume changes over two days, lots of booze and no children whatsoever. I also just learned this year that there’s protocol about the order in which gifts are opened on Christmas Eve. Anyway, all of that is cancelled this year, as the Queen and her husband plan to have a “quiet” Christmas at Windsor Castle, in the HMS Bubble. The Queen cancelled all of the family get-togethers, and she even cancelled her gift handing-out to her staff. Well, Tom Sykes at the Daily Beast has an epic piece about royal Christmases, current and past. This piece is so delicious, I’m breaking it up into two stories. Here’s the part about the Queen:

For the queen to sacrifice her own Christmas is an important and laudable act of leadership. It is a clear signal to the rest of the country to act cautiously. Casting an eye at rocketing case numbers on the other side of the Atlantic, where such leadership has been sadly lacking, one suspects the vast majority of her subjects will salute HM’s gesture.

However, for those members of the royal family who now have their calendars for the festive season opening up before them like an empty highway on Christmas Day, the truth is that one year off of the Sandringham turkey-giblet gravy train is perhaps a welcome surprise.

The trouble with a Sandringham Christmas is that while it is all very luxurious and delicious, and you are waited on hand and foot, there is an undercurrent of austerity and duty that puts a dampener on things, especially when compared to the week long marathon of over-indulgence and sloth that the rest of the country enjoys.

Visitors to Sandringham, for example, are not allowed to forget that there is no more important day in the Christian calendar than Christmas. Her Majesty, as Defender of the Faith, has a tendency to pathologize her duty. One visit to church, for example, is the absolute minimum and the queen really prefers it if she and senior royals go twice.

There are other puritanical touches; Christmas presents are exchanged on Christmas Eve so as not to distract from the important spiritual message of the day with base consumerism. The Christmas tree is only decorated on Christmas Eve. Stockings, left at the end of children’s beds and filled with small gifts by Santa Claus in the British tradition, are not a feature of Christmas morning at Sandringham. Lunch starts at 1 p.m. and all three courses are finished by 2:45 p.m., at which point everyone has to leave the table and file into the library to watch the Queen’s Speech on television. The queen and Prince Philip take themselves off to watch it privately elsewhere, re-emerging shortly afterwards.

The speech is pre-recorded and is likely to be taped, as have Her Majesty’s other television addresses this year, by technicians in bio-hazard suits occupying a separate room to their star performer and operating cameras remotely.

After the speech, the TV is switched off in favor of parlor games, such as those dramatized in The Crown, which showed Margaret Thatcher struggling to avoid covering her face in soot during the game ibble dibble.

[From The Daily Beast]

Not to defend that petty old woman at all, but I actually do think a few of rigid, unchanging parts of royal Christmas seem somewhat reasonable. There’s nothing wrong with spending Christmas morning at church, although I do tend to think that going twice on Christmas Day is a bit much. There’s nothing wrong with providing arrival times for family members, just so you’re not dealing with an influx of ten people all within the same twenty minutes. One of the things I always do find so bizarre is that the Queen forces her family to watch her Christmas speech on TV, and before today, I didn’t know that Liz and Phil watch it separately. How utterly strange. And Sykes didn’t even get into the tangled web of “protocol” around gift-giving among the royals. It’s not like Charles could give his mum a sweater and call it a day. No – the royals are supposed to give each other cheap things or gag gifts or hand-made things, like Kate giving out her own chutney as gifts. Anyway, royal Christmas always sounds like a bloody nightmare, just FYI. No wonder Meghan was like “smell ya later” after two Christmases.

National Service Of Remembrance At The Cenotaph

Photos courtesy of Avalon Red, Backgrid.

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133 Responses to “Queen Elizabeth likes an ‘undercurrent of austerity & duty’ for royal Christmas”

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  1. Belli says:

    It sounds bloody awful.

    • Dollycoa says:

      What a weird thing to do to exclude children on Christmas day! The rules are awful. It’s not just ‘ joke presents, they open them in order of succession! Way to entrench the hierarchy amongst the children. if Zaras children turned up for example and the cant open their presents until after virtually their whole family! Unless they are excluded completely from present giving and do it separately with the nanny. I’d have one Christmas like that then I’d be gone! The Queen has gone over and above to make sure she keeps her family in line, thinking that’s the way to keep the monarchy going. She thinks entrenching privelege is the best she can do for her descendants. They should be grateful to live without love or fun because one of them will be king one day. The rest of them all work for the same goal. So one of their relatives can be monarch and they can get handouts in return for doing things that others do in their spare time.

      • Christina says:

        Weird and cruel. Excluding CHILDREN, and her own GRANDCHILDREN? I did not know that it was an adults-only occasion. A fancy dinner like that should be held on any other day except for Christmas, but yeah, DollyCOA, this is about power and control. It sounds abusive, and it’s abuse everybody in that family agrees to: for money and power. And nobody says anything. If you do, you are banished.

        How stupid. Harry and Megan were very brave for leaving and not looking back. Not having my baby with me at Christmas alone would make me pull away from the monarchy, too. Not worth it.

      • ArtHistorian says:

        It is absolutely bonkers that they follow the order of precedence in PRIVATE!!! This is why they are so fucking dysfunctional!!! They really can’t separate the private sphere from official, ceremonial events where order of precedence have a ceremonial role. No wonder why they all turn out to be emotionally stunted people! They can only relate to each other as the rank they have and not as human beings, as family.

      • Tour malinn says:

        She does not rule anymore, so all the controll she has is over her family. The last bit of apparent power. No wonder why this family is so twisted.

  2. AnnaKist says:

    That’s fair enough, but there should be no undercurrent of austerity when it comes to the love and support of family. Duty is one thing. Officiousness, pettiness and burying your head in fusty, dusty, musty royal protocols is just an excuse to withdrawing from doing what’s right.

    • Elizabeth Phillips says:

      Austerity, my auntie! Austerity doesn’t include things like multiple costume changes, three course meals served by butlers, and arriving in order of rank.

    • Seraphina says:

      Especially when compared to the week long marathon of over-indulgence and sloth that the rest of the country enjoys.
      Does this mean that normally the BRF are over indulgent and sloth-like, while the peasants practice austerity????

    • ArtHistorian says:

      Austerity? Is that a codeword for nonsense ceremonial rigidity and emotional coldness?

  3. Zaya says:

    Is Christmas the most important in the Christian calendar? I thought it was Easter. I’m not Christian, so I’m truly asking.

    It is weird that she won’t watch the speech with the rest of the fam. No stockings for the kids? I wonder if they get to leave out minced pie and sherry for Santa, probably not. Will Charles change things when he’s King? Will Carole get to decide what the royal Christmas will be like when it’s will’s turn? 🤔

    • Amy Bee says:

      For Christians, Easter is the most important day not Christmas. So, if true the Queen, head of the Anglican Church, has it wrong. And to answer your question about Charles, I’m guessing he won’t because he’s a stickler for protocol as well. He is not a modernising figure and I suspect William will be the same way as well.

      • Zaya says:

        The question about Charles and Will want serious. I know the stodgy fuddy duddies who live for protocol. I mean, without protocol how will other people know who is superior and who is inferior. 🙄

      • Becks1 says:

        I think Charles is going to stick to the Sandringham protocol, at least for things like the church walk and the like. What will be interesting is if attendance at Sandringham changes. Like, will Anne still go if its Charles’s house? Or will she finally say “eff it, I’m staying at Gatcombe with my grandkids.” I wonder if the Sussexes will go when Charles is king? I can kind of see it if they get any sort of say in what happens (like, “we’ll come, but we’re opening presents in the morning with Archie. and no church walk.”)

      • equality says:

        To be fair, the Queen herself didn’t say this; it is the reporter’s interpretation and she does attend church on Easter. I bet she and Phil don’t watch the speech; they go nap while the rest watch.

      • betsyh says:

        Becks1, if the Sussexes do come, the Cambridges will arrive for the church walk and lunch and leave immediately afterwards.

      • Becks1 says:

        @bestyh – lol, well according to this, they don’t even stay for the lunch! So they can do the church walk and perform for the cameras while the Sussexes stay behind (I’m clearly just talking in hypos here.)

      • Alexandria says:

        William? Is he really into respecting protocol or does he only invoke it when he has to put Harry and their family in their place?

      • Lizzie says:

        Yes, Easter is the most important day of the year. However the error is most likely the writer and not the queen – i didn’t see a direct quote where she made that statement.

    • Snuffles says:

      Christian here. I think Easter is more important too. Nothing beats the Resurrection of Jesus.

    • Becks1 says:

      Easter is the most important day. I’ve always thought of it as Easter being why Christmas matters.

    • GuestWho says:

      I came here to say exactly this. Being born isn’t nearly as miraculous as raising from the dead.

    • Nic919 says:

      Easter is definitely the most important day for anyone who claims to be Christian. The resurrection of Christ is kind of the whole point of being Christian and it’s why it became a separate religion from Judaism.

      I assume this is just Sykes not having a clue about anything because at least the Queen seems devout.

    • Elizabeth says:

      She’s so devout and the leader of the faith and she shields a pedophile, shut up Sykes. This woman is a Pharisee, a whited sepulcher.

    • Courtney B says:

      That was my thought. Easter is considered the holiest day. The whole week actually has a number of very sacred days.

      • Seraphina says:

        Correct, and there is also Great Lent. The Tsars in Russia would shut festivities down down during Great Lent and Tsarina Elizabeth would go to the monasteries during that time (if memory serves me correctly).

    • M4lificent says:

      The other weird item in this story is the consternation that the royal family is expected to attend church TWICE (horrors!). For practicing Christians, attending church twice over the Christmas holidays is entirely normal. And Christmas and Easter are often the only times of the year that less observant members attend.

      Even if most of the royal family are only nominally religious, and only attending to please the Head of the Anglican Church (aka Grandmama), going to church twice over Christmas is not exactly torture. Obviously, the RF does the Christmas morning service (with the adjacent royal PR walk). And I’m guessing they probably also privately attend on Christmas Eve — which is usually pretty pleasant in many churches with candlelight services, lots of Christmas carols, and sometimes Christmas pageants from the kids. It’s not everybody’s cup of tea, but if they are obliged to attend, it’s less boring than most of the rest of the year.

      • BeanieBean says:

        Pretty sure (not bothering to scroll up to re-read), Sykes said she attends church twice ON Christmas, not just twice over the holiday week. Twice in one day. And likely in a different outfit. ;-)

      • Lucky Charm says:

        @ BeanieBean, I think they do attend twice on Christmas – wasn’t that why Prince Andrew walked privately (with Charles I think?) last year to the later service, instead of the main pap walk with the family earlier?

    • Seraphina says:

      Yes, Easter is the most important celebration of the Christian Calendar because Christ resurrected is the reason for Christianity.

    • MM2 says:

      While Easter is the most significant day for Christians, it is a more somber holiday than Christmas. So it’s more appropriate to party on Christmas with everyone in celebration of birth & be more reflective on Easter in recognizing death & resurrection (which is a celebration, but still shrouded in dying for sins).

  4. Amy Bee says:

    It’s like they’re working on Christmas Day. It should be the one day were people can relax and forget about protocol but this is not a family and thankfully Harry and Meghan don’t have to go through this nightmare anymore. I don’t believe they’ll ever go back for Christmas.

  5. Harper says:

    It will be interesting to see if Charles chucks the royal Sandringham Christmas when Betty moves on to greener pastures. Can’t imagine Camilla going for any of this royal rigamarole or subjecting her kids and grandkids to the rigid schedules.

    • Lady D says:

      “Betty moves on to greener pastures” How much greener can her pastures get? Jewels, furs,(gross), palaces, bowing and scraping servants, adoring unwashed masses, the finest of travel and food plus all the money in the world. I wonder what to her is a greener pasture?

      • RoyalBlue says:

        moving on to greener pastures is a euphemism for ‘dead’.

      • Lady D says:

        I realize that, RB, and everyone has their own version of what heaven is like. I was just wondering what she dreams of. What does she see as missing in her life that she hopes she will be rewarded with in the afterlife?

      • RoyalBlue says:

        ahhh, that’s funny, and true.

        let’ see: her own debit card, going to get a gin and tonic at the bar on the corner.

      • Harper says:

        For Christians, the reward/point of being in heaven is to be with God. As a Christian, Betty would be looking forward to that.

      • Natasha says:

        I mean…I was raised in the church and these days could hospitably be described as agnostic. But even the most reverent of my family don’t look at heaven as some sort of billionaire lifestyle that they were denied on Earth. I think the devout see it as a place free of sorrow and sickness. A place to be reunited with loved ones and above all, to be in the presence of Jesus? God? Whatever Divinity one calls it?

        If true — wouldn’t that be greener pastures?

  6. Thirtynine says:

    Yes, I think Good Friday/Easter is the most important too. Many of those Christmas Eve customs are just German in origin, I think, rather than specifically royal, and possibly originated in Victorias time. At least, when I have Christmassed in Germany, that’s the custom we followed too.

    • Pilot says:

      Yep, that’s what I read too. That they are basically still following German style Christmas protocol.

      • JT says:

        Even though they are the head of the British monarchy? No wonder the aristos in the uk still think they are German arrivistes after a few hundred years. As the head of the Church of England, it’s high time they practice some British traditions.

      • AmelieB says:

        Finally a “Make Britain British Again” that I can support!

      • tcbc says:

        @JT, eh, the Queen is a brittle dinosaur, but saying something or someone who has roots in another country is definitionally not British is xenophobic. The aristos considering the royals German, rather than British, reflects poorly on the aristos, not the royals. (And it was one of the main forces in why Megan was treated so poorly by the courtiers and the press, both stuffed to the gills with aristos.)

      • RoyalBlue says:

        the satirical tv show the Windsors had the Christmas episode when the family broke out singing Silent Night, Holy Night, in german. “stille nacht”

      • Candikat says:

        I don’t think it’s all that unusual to celebrate Christmas Eve? My family was culturally American but we always did the presents and the big meal and even the church-going on Christmas Eve. Christmas Day was sort of a letdown in comparison.

      • JT says:

        @TCBC I didn’t mean to say that they aren’t British because they have German roots, but sticking to these centuries old traditions while being the head of state in the U.K. seems a bit silly. There is no reason why they can’t blend both countries’ traditions, the country they are “ruling”, and make a new one. And you’re right, othering Meghan for being foreign is wrong, but to me it highlights their hypocrisy. For all their calls of traditions and rules of the UK lobbied at Meghan, the royals have actually failed to assimilate themselves.

  7. Sofia says:

    I can imagine it being very, very exhausting. Especially to the ones who married into the family as opposed to the ones who grew up doing this.

  8. Elvie says:

    I dunno … besides the costume changes it sounds mostly regular to me and I grew up very middle class. If I had their wardrobes/jewels, etc. I’d probably want to play dress up too?

    My family has a very set way we have celebrated Christmases of the past.
    - Christmas Eve dinner with my Mother’s family
    - Midnight mass
    - Up at 7AM for presents, coffee/tea
    - Christmas Day Church service
    - Home for a massive Christmas brunch
    - My parents take a nap while I bake pies for Christmas dinner
    - Travel to my grandmother’s house (Dad’s side) for dinner promptly at 5pm.
    That’s like literally been the order of things my entire life and I enjoy it. It’s two days.

    • Becks1 says:

      I think this article is downplaying a LOT of the protocol and rules that surround it. So you’re not doing it because you enjoy it, you’re doing it because you are told to do it.

      • Elvie says:

        That’s fair enough. We don’t see the full scope. The tone very much feels like everyone complaining about going to church. I feel like, take your 90+ year old grandmother to church on Christmas and Easter and don’t whinge about it.

      • BayTampaBay says:

        @Elvie – I agree with you. Take your granny to church, then just get on with it and start looking forward to New Years Eve.

      • Natasha says:

        @ Becks
        I make my bed because I grew up being told to do it. When I plan Thanksgiving dinner I always include those gerkin sweet pickles because I was always told to (and green olives).
        I make deviled eggs too because I’ve always been told to…I hate them and don’t eat them.
        I always have that god awful cranberry crap no one eats.

        My point is, many things regarding holiday traditions are just that…tradition…we do it because we grew up being told to. Some of us break tradition ( I serve prime rib for Christmas now) because we can…some of us still feel guilt when we do it.
        That doesn’t make tradition bad or awful or outdated — it just means that’s what our families do.

      • Becks1 says:

        @Natasha – that’s where we’re different I guess. I follow my family’s traditions because I want to, not because I was told to. At this point it’s completely voluntary. If there’s a tradition I don’t like, I don’t follow it at this point.

    • GuestWho says:

      It’s the segregation of the children that would ruin the day for me.

      • Kalana says:

        It sound so cold. Are all the kids in the nursery with the nannies for most of the day?

      • Natasha says:

        I’m not entirely sure I buy the reported goings on for this family — so much of what we read is opinion or what happened in the past. Do I believe there is a formal meal the kids are excluded from? Yea, it reminds me of when we had the ‘kids table’ at holiday meals. But I’m just not sure I believe all of the pomp and circumstance that gets reported on these people.

      • JanetDR says:

        No children on Christmas is the weirdest thing. I can’t imagine what that is like. What a horrible day for the children!

    • Lizzie says:

      Elvie, this is like my Christmas day growing up. I loved it. I think with larger or extended families it keeps everybody on the same schedule.

      • Lorelei says:

        @Elvie, Natasha & Lizzie: I’m sure Becks understands what tradition is and why it’s important and tbh, some of the replies to her came across as a bit condescending.

        The BRF’s Christmas is NOTHING like anything any of us have here experienced. The children are sent off to a separate suite with nannies. There are NINE mandatory costume changes on Christmas Day alone (this is what I’ve read, many times over the years from different sources, so I believe it’s true).

        The family members cannot give each other the gifts that they might want to— it has to be some stupid, cheap “gag” gift. (It’s possible that the younger cousins get together and exchange normal gifts at another time, but imo it’s ridiculous that they’re forbidden to on Christmas.) And as soon as the Queen is done eating, everyone has to stop whether they’re finished or not. AFAIK that’s the rule all the time, not just on Christmas, and imo it’s outrageously unnecessary and just so rude. The arrogance of that woman.

        No one else’s families are invited. As far as I know, the only person the Queen has ever allowed to join them is Sophie’s widowed father. What is the purpose of excluding loved ones of family members on Christmas?? And I realize that many people go to a Christmas Eve service (often at midnight) and then again on Christmas Day. But what I’ve read is that they are expected to go twice on Christmas morning alone, and I just think that’s not fair to ask of people, especially those with young children. William and Kate and their cousins should be able to spend most of Christmas morning with their kids, opening gifts, and watching the joy and excitement. They only believe in Santa for a few years. Imo going twice in the same morning is excessive.

        So of course many of us have Christmas traditions that have become important to us over the years, but it’s in no way comparable to what this family has to endure. Hopefully Charles will ease up on at least *some* of the rigid formality.

  9. Becks1 says:

    What makes Sandringham Christmas sound so exhausting to me is that you are following someone else’s Christmas schedule, every year. Like in my family we always change it up but there’s a discussion about what works best for everyone. Here, it’s just “you show up at X time. you wear X dress to dinner. Finish your meal by 245. No exceptions.” That doesn’t sound fun especially with little kids.

    • Mac says:

      The kids are excluded. Expecting parents to leave their kids at home for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day seems pretty thoughtless.

      • Becks1 says:

        Right, that’s kind of what I meant. Its not fun with little kids bc you’re not with your kids. I do think the kids are AT sandringham, but sequestered away from the rest of the family with the nannies. Considering that’s how the royals were raised, they probably think its fine, I imagine Meghan was probably a little horrified, no wonder Archie’s first Christmas was in Canada.

      • BayTampaBay says:

        Who actually comes to this Christmas at Sandringham, The Ducal Kents, The Gloucesters, The Michael Kents, Princess Alexandria???

        Does anyone know who actually gets invited?

      • Sofia says:

        @Bay I think it’s Lizzie’s kids, their kids and grandkids + any husbands and wives and that’s it. Everyone else (including who you’ve mentioned) spends it on their own.

        But I might be wrong.

      • Becks1 says:

        It’s not the Gloucesters/Kents – they come to the big lunch at Buckingham Palace. I always hear that Sandringham is busting at the seams, maybe the spouses have separate bedrooms?

        But I guess if you factor in the four kids, plus 8 grandkids and their spouses, great-grandkids, any staff (like nannies) that aren’t part of Sandringham, it might fill up quickly? IDK.

      • BayTampaBay says:

        For some reason I was thinking more extended family was invited but maybe all the extended family stuff stopped with the Queen Mother’s death. I really do not know.

      • Becks1 says:

        I don’t know either Bay. I know Sandringham is pretty stuffed apparently – maybe there are a lot more people there who don’t do the church walk so we don’t hear about them (like Sophie’s dad.)

      • Lorelei says:

        I so do not understand how they’re always talking about how Sandringham is so “full” and couldn’t possibly accommodate anyone else. Look at the size of that place!! There’s a photo in the Tatler article Jan shared below. I mean come ON. And even if that’s true, there are other properties on the estate — Amner is also enormous so some people could stay there, etc.

        Idk, to me, when they say this, it comes across as preposterous as the time that Kate missed an event because she claimed she “couldn’t find a babysitter.” Give me a break. For the British royals, of ALL people, to act like they don’t have the resources to entertain more people…spare me. JMO!

  10. RoyalBlue says:

    that article was horrid and snooty.

    “… there is an undercurrent of austerity and duty that puts a dampener on things, especially when compared to the week long marathon of over-indulgence and sloth that the rest of the country enjoys.”

    lies all of it. the family is shameless.

    • Becks1 says:

      AFTER it mentions how they are waited on hand and foot! But sure, “austerity.”

    • Sarah says:

      Yes, so noble of them while I, a mere peasant, roll around like a pig in mud and gorge myself because I have no sense of duty to my country. Get lost you fools!

    • BayTampaBay says:

      “that article was horrid and snooty”

      My favorite kind of gossip article.

      Would any CBer worth their salt want to read any other type of gossip article?

      LOL! LOL!

    • Zapp Brannigan says:

      “the week long marathon of over-indulgence and sloth that the rest of the country enjoys”

      Wow, that is one sneering sentence to describe people who enjoy time with family, so probably sums up exactly how Petty Betty feels about her lessers.

    • BeanieBean says:

      Y’all get a week off work for Christmas? Nice.

  11. Tom says:

    Yo, Royals – After party at my place! Twister, then Jenga. Rat Pack Christmas karaoke featuring dueling versions of “Santa Baby”. We’re doing Cheez Whiz right on our tongues and eating olives off our fingers. Bring a pillow and a blanket so you can crash on the floor or the sofa.

    • GuestWho says:

      Geez – what time should I be there? Sounds delightful (esp the Rat Pack karaoke! – or maybe its the direct application of Cheez Whiz, very efficient).

    • M4lificent says:

      I love the Rat Pack for Christmas — I get some spiked cider (in honor of Dino) and wrap my gifts to them. Unfortunately, the world is a better place when my family is not singing in it — but Rat Pack karaoke sounds fabulous for someone else’s family!

  12. Thirtynine says:

    You know, you probably all should stay home and gorge and feast this Christmas. 2020 is Covid Christmas, but 2021 will be Brexit Christmas. I reckon week long marathons of over indulgence might be thin on the ground by then.

  13. yinyang says:

    They really need to stop this, the Queen isn’t the only one sacrificing for herself. And how is the RF family sacrificing when all week we saw them amongst strangers maskless, they didn’t seem to sacrifice for the peasants. I wish I had the word to describe what this is vain…insane, idk. To have glowing articles written about you, to be complimented as the most sacrificing, the most good, the most striking, the most intelligent, the most hardworking, when really you’re just the most mediocre and the most richest. If anybody said this about themselves it would looked at as bragging, but the royal people get other people to brag about them so they can be described as most humble too. When I was ten I used to play pretend, I was Ms Such and Such and I lived here, and I had this job and beautiful hair, this is playing pretend on steroids. It wouldn’t be so bad if they used their own money for this childishness.

  14. Kalana says:

    Petty Betty sacrificed nothing. Her staff rose up in revolt against her because she expected them to give up their own families for a month so she could keep having her infamously awful Christmas even during a pandemic. It’s not a sacrifice if you have no other option.

    The Queen’s self-centeredness and lack of empathy is something I keep returning to because it fascinates me. It’s such a huge aspect of all the decisions she’s made as monarch and it’s never really talked about. It’s just vaguely described as “duty” when I think it’s more that she has just made all her own personal preferences into “protocol.”

    • 809Matriarch says:

      I know! The Queen prefers Pink Ballerina nail varnish. The Queen likes women to wear tights. The Queen doesn’t like wedgies. How tiresome!

      • booboocita says:

        Well, in fairness, does anyone like wedgies? I get upset when my pants ride up. Wedgies, in comparison, are just awful.

      • HeatherC says:

        @booboocita that must be why the queen doesn’t like the women to wear trousers. The wedgies! and when they pair this wedgie inducing clothing with wedges and black nail polish on fingers and toes with no socks! I’m surprised she’s survived this long!

      • BeanieBean says:

        When I’m Empress of the World I’ll ban wedgies, too. And maybe thong underwear while I’m at it. Aren’t they just permanent wedgies? (NOTE: I’m old.)

      • Kristin says:

        Not for nothing guys, but when she said “wedgies” I’m pretty sure she was talking about the wedge shoes that Kate always wears, not the wedgies you get from your underwear riding up:)

      • Lorelei says:

        She was definitely talking about wedges, the shoes, but that was such a funny typo 😂

  15. Linda says:

    No kids? That’s what makes Christmas fun for me. Kids bring the magic to Christmas.

  16. Beech says:

    Why all the costume changes? What sort of clothing with each change?

  17. mlouise@hotmail.com says:

    Christians all thought ‘nope Easter is most important’, when younger we attended church several times the week prior and on Sunday. Catholic here so usually used to attend church on Christmas Eve night before celebrating all dressed up, to please my mum and for the kids to enjoy the story played by humans at the front in most churches. So Christmas to me is about kids both from a consumerism, traditions building and religion teaching standpoint as they understand the part about a baby being born and people being happy about it. What is weird is to exclude their own family members’ kids and grandkids from a celebration centered on kids. As said, what a great way to introduce kids to thousands years old stories and traditions. I do not get excluding the kids, for most it is all about kids so much that it is an actual birth celebration and also, became the time when a special character (Santa) comes to deliver toys and surprises to them. I really find that this is aligned with what we saw on the Crown: a family that shows little to no respect to kids and then wonder why they turn out being difficult.

  18. Courtney B says:

    I don’t know why the royal holidays (at least the downer parts) are described as Germanic as a whole. Queen Victoria didn’t do anything like the modern one. Not to mention helped popularize the Christmas tree. (Not introduce as is often stated.) Her grandmother queen Charlotte (née Mecklenburg Strelitz) had a tree as well. Don’t know when it changed. But Victoria’s were pretty jolly. /englandspuzzle.com/queen-victorias-christmas/

  19. Ana Maria says:

    The Queen is the one person in the whole wide world that I wish would change her hairdo, just a little bit, Betty! even a side-part would do

    • (TheOG) Jan90067 says:

      Can you imagine wearing the SAME HAIRSTYLE for SEVENTY YEARS?????? JFC…

      Personally, I think they’re wigs now. By 94 your hair is DEFINITELY thinning, and her’s has not changed a millimeter since her early/mid 20s, except for turning white.

  20. Jumpingthesnark says:

    It’s pretty gross that they would frame the BRF luxury Xmas as “duty” and “austerity” when some Britons won’t have enough to eat and some first responders and front line health care workers will be actually working on that day.

  21. Coco says:

    This reminds of a sweet story I heard from my grandmother once. When she and my grandfather were dating, he invited her over to help his family decorate the Christmas tree. His family was so warm and enjoying the holiday together so much, that’s when she knew she wanted to marry him.

    Also: Abolish the monarchy.

  22. Hannah says:

    Christmas is for Children. Periodt! Sounds like an absolute nightmare. Completely devoid of ANY semblance of joy, cheer, festivity. Bloody horrible IMHO

  23. OriginalLala says:

    umm, it’s not “austerity” if you are celebrating in a castle with servants. that’s called “priviledge”.

  24. damejudi says:

    I agree with all the comments that call out the weird juxtaposition of privilege and austerity, touched on by Sykes.

    If the Queen was really embracing Christian values in her celebration, she would (especially this year!) have the royals prepare their own food and serve themselves. Even if staff cooked/assembled the meals in advance, give as many people as possible the day off to be with their families.

    Or, if she’s truly dedicated to austerity, do as my parents did on Fridays in Lent; fast for the day and donate the $$$ normally spent on food.

    I cannot imagine why the Queen chooses not to combine her religious values with the true joy of spending Christmas with family. Banishing the children is bonkers, and makes no sense at all.

  25. booboocita says:

    Is it just me, or does Petty Betty look unusually old, stooped, and frail in these photos? Granted, she’s 94. But the pics included in this post make her look every minute of those 94 years. I’m not a Charles fan by any means, but I’m thinking it’s high time for a tired old woman to step aside for her son. I know she won’t, of course.

    • Ang says:

      It’s not just you, I was waiting for someone to point this out. She looks thinner than usual. As one can expect to happen to a person
      that age.

    • Natasha says:

      Eh…the writer is known to dislike all royals still in the fold, that tends to influence the photos chosen to highlight that disdain. I’m not knocking it, just pointing it out. There are usually much more flattering photos from various events, the ones chosen are done so to highlight the…dislike.

      • Lorelei says:

        What? You think Sykes dislikes the royals? I see him totally differently. He openly despised Meghan so he trashed both Harry and Meghan, but for the most part he seems to be a royalist. This article is snarky, but overall I don’t think he’s anti-monarchy (or anti-family members in the fold) at all. I don’t read his columns religiously, though, so I could be wrong, or maybe he’s changed.

    • Nyro says:

      It’s not just you. I noticed immediately that she looked thinner at the Royal Train Wreck photo shoot.

  26. i can't even says:

    Ok so I don’t know what a “Germanic” Christmas is like, but I can’t imagine the Royal Fam’s “German” Christmas is any more German than my family’s thinking we have an “Italian” Christmas. That is, we’re a few generations away from that and just acting out traditions that were passed down by our Italian ancestors in a bastardized, 21st century way. No?

    • Dollycoa says:

      Isnt the Germanic thing just about Christmas eve?

      • Thirtynine says:

        Yes, just about Christmas Eve and the timing. I know Christmas trees originated in Germany, and certainly didn’t mean anyone to think I wanted to have a go at Germanic Christmas customs. I love my Germans!I really meant that writer of the article was seeming to imply that the routine they described around Christmas Eve was specifically because of the Queens royal specialness, when really it is just celebrated following some customs which are German. But all Christmas customs came from somewhere, and are not quickly changed because one of the nice parts of Christmas is that there are so many traditions associated with it that we really only enjoy at that time of year. I mean just look at Australia. Probably for a hundred years we all cooked turkeys and big hot Christmas lunches because it was traditional in England, and it is 100 degrees in the the shade here in December! Till we finally started having prawns and pavlova with our pudding.

  27. lunchcoma says:

    Some of that stuff sounds normal – presents on Christmas Eve opened in a specific order (we do youngest to oldest) is my family too, and I certainly know others who emphasize homemade or silly, inexpensive gifts.

    I don’t know who on earth would want to exclude children from Christmas, though. Aren’t they the ones who make it the most fun for everyone? And all those outfit changes and multi-course meals sound dreadful.

    • ArtHistorian says:

      People who don’t like children exclude them from Christmas, I’d think.

    • JanetDR says:

      My family’s tradition has always been opening one gift at a time starting with the youngest as well. We would open stockings and then wait for grandparents to arrive before opening.
      It was a real culture shock to me going to other people’s houses and seeing a free for all with everyone opening at once!

  28. GuestwithCat says:

    The dressing up part sounds like it could be fun if they spread it out over a couple of days. If it were me I’d knock Angela to the side, open the vault and hand out tiaras to whoever wanted to wear them to dinner. Including the men.

    But that’s about it. I’m a devout Christian but oddly I celebrate all the religious holidays secularly unless the in-laws invite me to church for something.

    At our house the fun begins when the pets get their presents. My dog passed away last year and for the last few years wasn’t as into her toys anyway, so I will be missing that. But the cats have their own traditions. We’ve got four new additions so it will be interesting to see if the older cats show them how things are done or if the new ones introduce the old guys to new levels of fun.

    • Babz says:

      Pet Christmas sounds awesome! Wish we could post videos here – I would love to see the kitten Christmas gift hijinks happening at your house. I’m sorry you lost your sweet doggie, though. 😢

    • SomeChick says:

      I want to hear all about your kittychristmas! =^. .^=

  29. betsyh says:

    Who doesn’t like an undercurrent of austerity at Christmas. :-D

  30. mlouise@hotmail.com says:

    Betsyh! Good one! And for children excluded (really bothers me!!) it is not very Jesus-like who asked for kids to be brought closer and not excluded! Anyhow, I side eye people who show little respect for kids and do not consider them as fully part of family traditions, they are not puppets, but actual human beings.

    • Lanie says:

      Not Jesus-like? That surprises you? I mean, the Church of England with the reigning monarch as the head is a thing because a slutty king wanted to leave his wife for his whore and the Pope said nope.

  31. Jay says:

    I kind of like the idea of family/traditional games at Christmas, but I’ll bet it is painful to play, say, charades or anything involving limericks, with Kate. I’m basing this solely on how she comes across in public appearances, so maybe unfair, but she doesn’t seem that quick-witted or adept at wordplay.

    Conversely, Camilla seems like she would absolutely dominate!

  32. Liz version 700 says:

    It sounds like sn loves making everyone miserable Good Lord.

  33. BeanieBean says:

    Nothing says ‘austerity’ like a gold piano! Filmed in a room of one of your many palaces! Jeez Louise, these people. OK, now I’ll scroll up & read the post.

  34. Lucy schroeder says:

    I am German, so a lot of their traditions are indeed Germanic and not puritanical. Yes, we dress up on the 24th and go to church, if so inclined. We love our „Stille Nacht“ and „o du fröhliche“. There are no christmas stockings. Gift exchange is late afternoon if you have kids or evening if you are adults and there is either super casual food like sausages and potatoe salad or opposite: goose wirh all the trimmings. Then we enjoy the evening talking, looking at our gifts and watching a christmas movie or Sissi or 3 Nüsse für Aschenbrödel. Some go to church again at 11 p.m., a beloved tradition where you meet friends, talk and exchange small gifts. On the 25th and 26th you visit family or eat and sleep. Alien to us: decorating the tree before the 24th! That‘s a big no, if you celebrate traditional. The kids see the tree for the first time when a bell is ringing and they are allowed in the living room. The best moment ever. Also unknown: getting up, dressing in fugly pyjamas and unwrapping the gifts. Although it looks comfy!

    • Lorelei says:

      @Lucy, thank you for this post! I didn’t know most of that. It sounds lovely.

    • Godwina says:

      Yeah, I’m super sad that, when I lived in Germany, I always left Germany over Xmas to be with family elsewhere. I missed experiencing a German Xmas, which always sounded way cooler than North American ones.

  35. Godwina says:

    The switching off screens rule isn’t bad, but the no kids rule hurts my heart.

    My ex’s family had the worst christmases–terrible food, no music, no joy, cold cold cold house with no bundle of relatives (both his parents were unpleasant and unpopular among the extended family). Those shit Xmases over a decade were one of the main reasons our marriage tanked. That, and his horrible parents being so hateful that even he and his sister avoided them when possible (tho sis wasn’t much better tbh). This is one of the reasons I give H&M’s union an expiry date. That crap corrodes.