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A Palace Insider Reveals How the Royal Family Spends Christmas

We can tell you one thing: There's no a "Secret Santa."
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The holidays are a busy time for royals. Their schedules are booked with charity events, they often travel far from home, and there are plenty of traditions to honor. And though their official schedules are very different from our own, they often still celebrate similarly to those of us who observe the holiday. (Family photos and themed sweaters, anyone?) Here's a look at what the festivities have looked like over the years.

THEY DRESS FOR THE SEASON.

Princess Diana wore a festive red velvet dress in this portrait with Prince Charles, and the infant Prince William.


THEY ESPECIALLY DRESS WELL FOR CHURCH.

Hats are a must for women, as seen in this very '80s photo of Princess Diana and Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York. While Diana's jacket might not be back in style for a while, we do think the young Prince William looks the most timeless of all.


THEY DECORATE WITH FAMILY PHOTOS.

The Queen is like every other mom and grandmother: Extremely proud of her family, as evident by the family photos on her desk. We also couldn't help but notice how her ensemble coordinates with the ivory flowers and tree ornaments.


ADORABLE HOLIDAY PORTRAITS ARE A MUST.

This adorable photo of Prince George in an even cuter Christmas-themed vest was taken by Kate!


AND THOSE PORTRAITS TAKE PLACE EVERY YEAR FOR THE YOUNG ROYALS.

Here, Prince George is joined by his new baby sister, Charlotte. This was the official holiday portrait of the foursome, which was posted on Instagram, and read: "Merry Christmas from The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prince George and Princess Charlotte. The Duke and Duchess are hugely appreciative of all the warm messages they have received about their family this year and are very much looking forward to their first Christmas as a family of four."

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EVERY YEAR, THE QUEEN RECORDS HER CHRISTMAS ADDRESS.

Since 1952, Queen Elizabeth has delivered a Christmas message, which is usually recorded in advance and aired on December 25. (She's only missed one year, in 1969.) This photo is from her first televised message, in 1957. Though you can't see him, Elizabeth is smiling at an off-camera Prince Philip.


BUCKINGHAM PALACE GETS VERY DECKED OUT FOR THE SEASON.

In this photo from her 2012 Christmas address, we can get a great look at the holiday decorations at Buckingham Palace, from the fabulous floral arrangements to the red-and-gold decorated tree.


THE QUEEN RECEIVES MANY CHRISTMAS CARDS.

As we can see in this 2001 photo, Queen Elizabeth displays the thoughtful cards on every surface available — from the mantel, to sofa tables, to her coffee table. We also love how the tree's red and gold decorations pick up the color in the room, along with the clever use of ribbon to display even more cards on the mantel.


FOR A WHILE, QUEEN ELIZABETH WOULD PUT ON A PLAY.

From 1941 to 1944, Princess Margaret and then-Princess Elizabeth would put on pantomimes at Windsor Castle. (Proceeds from the performances went to the Royal Household Wool Fund, which went to supply wool to make comforters for soldiers stationed during World War II.) In 1944, they performed "Old Mother Red Riding Boots." How cute is that set?


THE QUEEN COMMUTES BY TRAIN TO HER CHRISTMAS GETAWAY.

After a meal at Buckingham Palace with family, Queen Elizabeth boards a train to travel to Sandringham House, which becomes the center of all Christmas activity for the royals.


CHURCH IS A FAMILY AFFAIR.

The British Royal Family attends Christmas service at St. Mary Magdalene Church, which is located near Sandringham House, where the celebrate the holidays.

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PRINCE WILLIAM AND PRINCE HARRY PLAY SOCCER.

Americans play touch football on Thanksgiving, the British Royal Family plays a friendly game of football (soccer to us!) on Christmas Eve. Actually, this is just the tradition for Prince William and Prince Harry. They join the local pub team near Sandringham House for a spirited game to benefit charity.


THE ROYAL FAMILY EMPHASIZES CHARITY DURING THE HOLIDAYS.

They travel near and far to deliver messages of goodwill. In this photo from 2014, Prince Harry visits Lesotho to see the work of his charity Santebale, which provides healthcare and education to children in the region. Prince Harry co-founded the charity with Prince Seeiso in 2006.


THEY CELEBRATE CHRISTMAS NO MATTER HOW FAR FROM HOME.

Though the family traditionally gathers at Sandringham, the Queen's estate in Norfolk, sometimes it's not so easy to get together. In 2012, Prince Harry celebrated Christmas in Afghanistan during his 20-week tour of duty.


 

QUEEN ELIZABETH'S CHRISTMAS TREE HAS CHANGED WITH THE TIMES.

In this still from a 1969 documentary about Queen Elizabeth's life so far, you can get a peek at the very '60s-feeling tree (a time when Christmas trees were a bit more sparse and featured a delightful un-matching assortment of ornaments).


From: House Beautiful

This story originally appeared on Townandcountrymag.com.
* Minor edits have been made by the Townandcountry.ph editors.

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