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The Queen has a "Victorian" approach to the royal family's Christmas celebrations, according to former royal chef Darren McGrady.
Any parent will know that fine china and toddlers are a recipe for disaster, which is why Her Majesty ensures there are separate dining areas for the kids on Christmas Day – senior royals would dine in the main room, and the young Princes and Princesses would eat in the nursery.
"The children always ate in the nursery until they were old enough to conduct themselves properly at the dining table," Darren previously told HELLO!. "So for the Queen there was never a case of putting a high chair at the table with a little baby squealing and throwing food.
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"It was Victorian. The children's place was in the nursery and Nanny would take care of them. It's your modern-day Downton Abbey."
It's not yet known how the royals will celebrate Christmas this year amid the ongoing pandemic and growing concerns for the Omicron variant. However, if they are able to gather as normal at Sandringham, it's sure to be a full house.
Prince William, Prince Harry and other royal children would dine in a separate room as youngsters
Prince William and Kate have three young children of their own - Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis - while Prince Charles and Camilla also always spend Christmas with the Queen, as do Princess Anne, Prince Andrew, and the Earl and Countess of Wessex and their teenage children.
Her Majesty's granddaughters Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie are also usually spotted at the Christmas Day church service. This year, the sisters will be marking their first Christmases with their babies; Eugenie gave birth to her son August in February, while Beatrice became a mum in September to baby Sienna.
Prince George is pictured making Christmas pudding with the Queen
As for the Christmas Day menu, what do the royals usually tuck into? Traditional turkey and Christmas pudding for all, Darren added.
"They're actually boring when it comes to festivities!" he said. "We did three turkeys for the Queen and her family in the royal dining room, one for the children's nursery and then more for the 100 or so staff, so everyone had a Christmas lunch."
The chef, who first cooked for the Queen and then for Princess Diana, continued: "We'd make one big Christmas cake for the Queen and the royal family and then another smaller one for the nursery for Prince William, Prince Harry, Zara, Peter, Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie. It was always fruit cake – royal icing, marzipan and the traditional fruit cake."
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