When it comes to Christmas, it’s rare for the royal family to deviate from tradition.
So customary is the clan’s trip to Sandringham House, that’s it’s near impossible to imagine the likes of Meghan Markle, Prince Harry, Kate Middleton, Prince William and Prince Charles not walking into St Mary Magdalene Church in Norfolk.
However, following Queen Elizabeth II's passing in September, and the Sussexes' now permanent residence being Stateside, we imagine Christmas will look a little different for the royals this year.
Here's how the royal family will be spending Christmas this year:
King Charles and Queen Consort
It's rumoured that instead of asking guests to sit around watching his first Christmas Day speech, Charles plans to pre-record the annual address to the nation, and would like his family to spend the day honouring the Queen.
'I’m sure he’ll record a few days before and it’s bound to have some reflection on their loss,' Bond noted.
The royal family have numerous traditions during Christmas, which usually involves a stay a traditional walk around the Sandringham estate.
The official royal website states of the family's Christmas traditions: 'On Christmas Eve, the royal family lay out their presents on trestle tables and will exchange their gifts at teatime.’
It’s also believed that they follow a tradition of gifting each other joke presents. The Sun previously reported that Markle once gifted the Queen a singing hamster, while one of Prince Charles’ favourite gifts is rumoured to have been a white leather toilet seat from his sister, Princess Anne.
Prince William, Kate Middleton, Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have been known tosplit their time during the festive period with both of their families.
In 2016, the parents – who were yet to welcome Louis – attended a church service in Berkshire with their two eldest children and Kate’s family.
Two years later, Kate’s mother Carole opened up about her plans for Christmas, explaining to the Telegraph: ‘I try not to be too set when it comes to the schedule.
‘Generally, we go to church in the morning, then a walk, open a few presents (with more in the evening). Then champagne and smoked salmon for lunch, and the main Christmas meal in the evening – but with young grandchildren, maybe we’ll move that forward and have it at lunchtime.’
However, this year it's likely the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, and their children, will be present at Sandringham.
Meghan Markle, Prince Harry, Archie and Lilli
Given the fact the Sussexes only recently returned to the US following the Queen's passing and mourning period, it's likely they won't be at Sandringham this year.
While it's to be presumed the family have been, or will be invited to spend Christmas in the UK with King Charles, if previous Christmases are anything to go by we expect Prince Harry, Meghan Markle, Archie and Lillie to remain in California for the festive period.
During Markle's Ellen DeGeneres show interview in November 2021, the Duchess of Sussex revealed her husband and two children would celebrate Thanksgiving in Montecito, California.
'I love to cook,' she said. 'We’ll be home and just sort of relax and settle in. It’s our second Thanksgiving at home in California. It’ll be nice, it’ll be really nice.
'We moved here during lockdown, exactly when things shut down, so we've just been able to spend a lot of time at home and creating our home, but I think it's just the lifestyle and the weather is pretty great. But we're just happy.'
In December 2019, a month before they announced they would be stepping back as senior working royals and during what was was referred to as a 'break', the couple spent Christmas in Canada with their son Archie (for whom, it was his first Christmas) and Markle's mother, Doria.
As explained at the time by a spokesperson, it was one of the first Christmases the Duke of Sussex had not spent at Sandringham.
'Having spent the last two Christmases at Sandringham, Their Royal Highnesses will spend the holiday this year, as a new family, with the Duchess’ mother Doria Ragland. This decision is in line with precedent set previously by other members of the Royal Family, and has the support of Her Majesty The Queen,' a spokesperson said.
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