Heritage

The Royal Family Christmas Cards Through the Years

See how the tradition of the royal holiday greeting has changed over time.
IMAGE EXPRESS/EXPRESS/GETTY/ ROYAL-FANS.COM
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The release of the royal Christmas card has come to be a much-beloved holiday tradition. Read on to see the evolution of the annual greeting, which has grown to include not only a new photograph but also a sweet message for warm wishes in the new year.

2017


This year's official Christmas card from the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall features a photograph taken by Hugo Burnand during Camilla's private 70th birthday party.

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Will and Kate pose with George and Charlotte in a new portrait taken by photographer Chris Jackson for their 2017 holiday card.

2016


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This candid shot features the royal family during their tour of Victoria, BC.

2015


Kensington Palace shared this lovely shot of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge marking their first Christmas as a family of four.

2014


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Prince Charles and Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, highlighted the Invictus Games in their holiday card back in 2014. The Games is an international sports competition for wounded servicemen, started by Prince Harry.

2013


This shot of the Duchess of Cornwall and Prince Charles is sweet and silly, showcasing the pair at the Royal Ascot.

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2005


This shot, from the wedding of Prince Charles and Camilla, was used for the newlyweds' Christmas card and features Princes Harry and William looking quite dashing, as well as Camilla's children Laura Lopes and Tom Parker Bowles.

1999


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A personal holiday note written by Charles to William Tallon, a staff member of the Queen Mother's at Clarence House, features the Prince of Wales with his two grown sons.

1998


Warm wishes from the whole family in 1998.

1995


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In 1995, William and Harry posed with their mother, Diana. Charles and Diana had separated in 1992 and sent out their own cards each holiday season.

1993


Charles and Diana separated in 1992, so a card with just the Prince of Wales and his sons Harry and William sufficed the following year.

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1990


A candid shot from 1990 features the Queen and Prince Philip at ease in plaid.

1989


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In 1989, the Queen and Prince Philip posed for a black-and-white picture during a trip to Sark, Guernsey.

1988


Charles, Diana, William, and Harry were photographed at the stables in 1988.

1987


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The young Princes William and Harry posed with their parents in the card from 1987.

1984


In 1984, the addition of Prince Harry completed this family foursome.

1982


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Good wishes from Charles, Diana, and the newborn Prince William in 1982.

1981


To commemorate their marriage, Charles and Diana sent out this portrait from their wedding day in 1981.

1979


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The 1979 card got back to basics. Not one to forego color, the Queen sported kelly green and Princess Anne followed suit with a bright blue scarf. On the left behind Edward, stands Princess Anne's son toddler Peter Phillips in a red coat. On the righthand side we can see one of the Queen's famous corgis!

1969


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A cheekier card than years past, the 1969 holiday message features the windblown royal family around a speedboat.

1965


In 1965, the royal family welcomed Prince Edward and card featured the larger group smiling around his carriage.

1957


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As serene as a watercolor, this portrait of the Queen and her two children is more candid than the previous cards, perhaps sparking a new tradition we see in more recent photos.

1955


Queen Elizabeth II poses with Prince Philip and their two children, Charles and Anne.

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1942


Keeping with her grandparents' tradition, then-Princess Elizabeth sent cards to the troops during WWII.

1914


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Queen Elizabeth II's grandparents Queen Mary and King George V sent out this card–and their blessing–to the troops involved in WWI.

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

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