King Charles to spend first Christmas since Queen's death at Sandringham Estate in Norfolk

King Charles on a visit to the Grade I listed North Wing of St Bartholomew's Hospital, in east London.
Credit: PA
King Charles is preparing for the first Christmas since the Queen's death. Credit: PA

The King is to spend Christmas Day at Sandringham this year, marking a return to the traditional royal family Christmas on the Norfolk estate.

The monarch and the Queen Consort are expected to be joined by their wider family as they mark their poignant first Christmas since the death of the late Queen and King Charles’s accession to the throne.

During the Covid pandemic, she spent Christmas at Windsor Castle two years in a row – the first with the Duke of Edinburgh, separated from her wider family.

The Sandringham Estate was thought to be one of the Queen's favourite places.

She and her family traditionally spent several weeks there every year, usually over Christmas and up until at least 6 February - the date when the then-Princess Elizabeth acceded to the throne.

Royal Christmases usually feature a morning trip to St Mary Magdalene Church, the greeting of well-wishers, and a family lunch with turkey and all the trimmings.

The Prince and Princess of Wales and their children Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis are often among the gathered guests.

Charles is also preparing to pre-record his historic, first ever Christmas Broadcast as monarch, when he will no doubt reflect on the loss of his mother and her legacy.

Traditionally, members of the royal family sit down to watch the televised address when it airs after lunch, usually at 3pm on 25 December.

The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh at Sandringham House. Credit: PA

The tradition of spending the holidays at the Norfolk estate was begun by the Queen's grandfather, King George V.

He described the house as "dear old Sandringham, the place I love better than anywhere else in the world".

In 1957, Queen Elizabeth II also gave her first televised Christmas message from Sandringham.

It marked the 25th anniversary of her grandfather George V’s first royal Christmas broadcast on the radio.

The Prince and Princess of Wales visited Sandringham to see the tributes left by the public to the Queen. Credit: PA

During the mourning period following the Queen's death, Sandringham became a focal point for people's grief, with thousands of cards, bunches of flowers and toys being left at the estate's Norfolk gates.

The display was visited by the Prince and Princess of Wales, who came to see the tributes and meet well-wishers.