This is how you can celebrate Christmas like the royal family
‘Tis the most wonderful, expensive and luxurious time of the year. As Christmas approaches, millions of families will be preparing vegetables, turkeys and presents ahead of the big day.
On the most festive of occasions, the nation always turns to one family (or maybe two if you count the drama on the cobbles). The royal family have preserved many of their traditions to keep the Victorian festive spirit alive.
Grant Harrold is a former royal butler. He served in the royal households for seven years from 2004. An expert in etiquette, he knows exactly how to have a royal-esque Christmas with all the trimmings - and shared the details with GMB.
"The Queen loves to host and wants to make sure that everything is perfect for her guests,” says Grant.
The Monarch is known to inspect the dining table, making sure every piece of cutlery is polished to perfection, every champagne flute perfectly placed.
“Her Majesty will get to Sandringham a couple of days before the rest of her guests, they’ll then arrive in order of seniority with the heads of the family arriving first, followed by those lower down the pecking order,” Grant says.
When does the Queen get for Christmas and when does she open her presents?
The first thing to know about the royals is that presents are not taken seriously by the family - what do you get the woman who has everything?
Instead, the family opt to get one another novelty gifts to make one another laugh. Princess Diana is said to have made a royal faux pas on her first Christmas with the family as she bought an expensive gift - but learnt quickly as she turned her hand to cheaper, novelty gifts for later gatherings.
“They lay out their gifts on long trestle tables for the occasion, they normally open their presents on Christmas Eve - following the German tradition brought in by Prince Albert. I imagine, with there being several younger members of the royal family, there will be some presents opened by the children on Christmas Day,” says Grant.
He also adds that members of the royal family do not regift presents. They may discretely find themselves in a charity shop though, so keep your eye out for an expensive hamper if you find yourself near one of the royal palaces during January!
How are the Queen’s trees decorated and what does the Queen have for Christmas dinner?
“Tinsel is banned - thank goodness,” says Grant. “I can’t think of anything worse and I would say it’s a no-go for the royal family.”
“Trees are elegantly decorated, less is more. The decorations will always be down by the 6th of January, as per tradition - it’s bad luck otherwise.”
Grant says that the Queen is likely to have goose for Christmas dinner - as per tradition.
“Although there may be a turkey there for members of the family who want it,” says Grant.
He warns anybody who may find themselves invited to the royal household for Christmas dinner in future to bring plenty of outfit changes - there’s different clothing for breakfast, dinner and church - and jeans are a big no-no.