The Royal Household's guide to Christmas gift giving

Danielle Stacey
Royal Correspondent

Traditionally the Windsors spend the festive season at Sandringham and exchange gifts on Christmas Eve, following afternoon tea.

Instead of treating each other to extravagant goods, family members are encouraged to buy each other something cheap and humorous.

Royal correspondent Victoria Murphy tells Yahoo UK‘s ‘The Royal Box’ that they often go down the personal or jokey route, when it comes to gifts.

The Duchess of Cambridge wraps presents in New York, in 2013 [Photo: Getty]

She says: “There’s a lot of discussion about joke gifts and joke presents, because obviously they’ve got so much money, they would be able to buy anything so it would be ridiculous if they were all giving each other expensive gifts, and that’s not what we understand they do.

“But also I think maybe personal things. Kate gave an interview once where she spoke about making chutney for the Queen, she said she was very nervous about what to do so she made chutney.”

During a documentary for the Queen’s 90th birthday, the Duchess of Cambridge revealed she made the homemade chutney using her grandmother’s recipe.

Speaking about her first Christmas at Sandringham, Kate said: “I was slightly worried about it, but I noticed the next day that it was on the table.

“I think such a simple gesture went such a long way for me and I’ve noticed since she’s done that on lots of occasions and I think it just shows her thoughtfulness, really, and her care in looking after everybody.”

The royals, pictured at Sandringham, exchange presents on Christmas Eve (Getty)

Kate also showed off her sense of humour one year and reportedly gave her brother-in-law Harry a ‘grow-your-own girlfriend’ kit (of course, this was in the pre-Meghan Markle era). It’s claimed that Harry once gifted his grandmother, the Queen an ‘ain’t life a b***h’ bath hat. 

Princess Diana apparently didn’t get the memo during her first Christmas with the royals and is said to have bought Princess Anne a cashmere jumper. 

However Meghan was clearly informed of the tradition ahead of time and reportedly gave the Queen a singing toy hamster last year, which was almost stolen by the corgis.

Former royal butler Grant Harrold, who also appeared on ‘The Royal Box’ added: “I also think that possibly again maybe on Christmas Day, especially the younger royals will give each other presents of something a bit more special, than something novelty.

“But I think as far as the actual get-together goes and they all give each other presents, I think it is more novelty.”

The staff members are included in the gift-giving.

All members of The Royal Household receive presents from the Queen and she personally hands them out to staff at Buckingham Palace and at Windsor Castle.

Continuing the tradition from her father, King George VI and her grandfather, George V, Her Majesty also gives Christmas puddings to her staff.

About 1500 Christmas puddings paid for by the Queen (through the Privy Purse) are distributed to staff throughout the Palaces, staff in the Court Post Office and Palace police. Each pudding is accompanied by a greeting card from the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh.


Follow us on Instagram and Facebook for non-stop inspiration delivered fresh to your feed, every day. For Twitter updates, follow @YahooStyleUK

Read more from Yahoo Style UK:

The Royal Family’s Christmas 2018 plans: Meals, presents and traditions

What Christmas at Sandringham is really like, from a Royal Household aide

There’s ‘some truth’ to feud between William, Harry, Kate and Meghan