Watch: The Royal Family at Christmas
The Queen is planning to spend Christmas quietly at Windsor Castle this year, as the coronavirus situation continues.
It will be a far cry from her usual large family gatherings. With four children, eight grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren, there can be a large guest list for Christmas with the Queen and Prince Philip.
For the last three decades, royal Christmases have been synonymous with Sandringham, the Queen’s estate in Norfolk.
But it wasn’t always that way. The 2020 venue of Windsor Castle used to be the hub of royal festivities.
The Queen and Philip would spend Christmas at Windsor Castle when their children, Charles, Anne, Andrew and Edward, were small.
This continued into the 1980s, with photographs showing Princess Diana attending Christmas at Windsor Castle alongside her then-husband Prince Charles.
The last time the Royal Family celebrated Christmas at Windsor Castle was in 1987.
Prince William, then just five-years-old, the same age as his daughter Charlotte is now, attended the Christmas Day service with his mother, grandmother, and other members of the Royal Family.
He waved proudly at the cameras as he led the royal youngsters out of the church after the service.
Zara Philips, now Zara Tindall, can be seen behind him, as well as Peter Philips.
Want some idea how long it’s been since the Queen and Royal Family spent Christmas at Windsor Castle?
Well, rewind 33 years and take a look at Prince William in these @itvnews pictures from 1987 (he is the one in the powder blue coat by the way).
Yup... that long!! 👀 #christmas pic.twitter.com/V1lNllIo1r
— Chris Ship (@chrisshipitv) December 1, 2020
Christmas morning church services were attended at St George’s Chapel, which is in the grounds of Windsor Castle.
It’s also where Prince Harry married Meghan Markle, and where Princess Eugenie married Jack Brooksbank.
The family moved the celebrations in 1988 because Windsor Castle was being rewired, and they never moved them back.
In Royal Family terms, it’s a relatively new tradition to celebrate Christmas in Norfolk.
The Queen gave her annual message in 1987, reflecting on the terrorist bomb in Enniskillen which killed 11 people.
That year, she said: “It is only too easy for passionate loyalty to one's own country, race or religion, or even to one's favourite football club, to be corroded into intolerance, bigotry and ultimately into violence.
“We have witnessed some frightening examples of this in recent years. All too often intolerance creates the resentment and anger which fill the headlines and divide communities and nations and even families.”
Some of the Queen’s Christmas links with Windsor have remained over the last three decades, and she continued to donate money to charities in the city.
She also gives Christmas trees to churches and schools in the Sandringham area, as well as to St Paul’s Cathedral, Westminster Abbey, Canongate Kirk in Edinburgh and St Giles’ Cathedral.
According to the Royal Collection Trust, Christmas has been celebrated at Windsor Castle since the 12th century.
Prince Albert and Queen Victoria, who are responsible for much of the Christmas traditions not just for the royals but in Britain, also marked the big day at the Berkshire home.
It was during the reigns of King Edward VII, King George V and King George VI that Christmas began to be celebrated more at Sandringham.
In normal years, the Queen and Philip would stay in Sandringham into the new year as well, attending church on New Year’s Day.
However other royals will head off after Boxing Day, as they visit other members of their family.
Watch: Queen and Philip to spend Christmas at Windsor Castle