The Queen's Christmas rituals have been revealed in a new documentary, Inside Sandringham: Holidaying With The Queen, which aired on Channel 5 on Monday 9th December.
Charting details of the royal family's Christmas traditions at the much-loved country retreat, the 60-minute documentary gave an insight into where they eat their dinner, how they spend Christmas Eve and how the grand tree is decorated.
For more than 100 years, the beautiful estate at Sandringham has hosted the royals for their ultimate Christmas celebrations. But what festive traditions do they abide by?
1. The Royal family open their presents on Christmas Eve
A tradition that stems from Germany, the royals exchange gifts on Christmas Eve after attending a church carol service at St Mary Magdalene Church. This is when the celebrations truly kick off, as members of the family get into the festive spirit.
According to insiders, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are the only ones who break this tradition as they allow their three young children to open presents on Christmas Day.
2. Celebrations begin with a Martini
According to the documentary, the celebrations begin on Christmas Eve when the Queen delivers a toast with a Martini. "I think the Queen likes a Martini, other people would rather have champagne," Ingrid Seward, editor of Majesty magazine said. "Prince Philip isn't a great drinker, he always used to drink pale ale."
3. The royals love baubles and coloured lights
In the documentary, royal commentator Dickie Arbiter said: "[The Sandringham estate] is decorated in much the same way as people throughout the United Kingdom decorate their tree. You’ve got the baubles, the tinsel, the coloured lights."
"There's no stencilling or faxing or anything like that, and the card count runs into hundreds. All the staff get a card, then friends get a card. There are people you've got send cards to and people you want to send cards to, but every card is signed by both of them," he continues, reports Yahoo.
4. Prince Philip has his own tradition
According to the documentary, Prince Philip loves to place the gold star on the top of the tree. Royal expert Claudia Joseph said: "Prince Philip will always put the gold star on the top of the tree, and probably will continue to do so for the rest of his life.
"He's quite a stalwart and won’t let other people take control. When any young children come they put their own decorations on."
5. Christmas Day begins with a buffet
For the royals, Christmas Day is a well-structured day, where they'll begin with a lavish buffet and head to church afterwards. Like many of us across the UK, they too will sit down for a traditional Christmas lunch and watch The Queen's Speech at 3pm.
"We all think it's a terribly formal, but really [the Royal Family] have a wonderful relaxed time at Sandringham like the rest of us," royal writer Richard Kay says.
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