Have you ever wondered how the British Royal Family celebrates Christmas? If your answer is “yes,” you’re in luck. People recently spoke with Darren McGrady, who worked for the Windsors for 15 years, and got the lowdown on exactly what goes on at the Queen’s country estate, Sanringham, during the holidays. It’s quite a lengthy read, so we’ve boiled it all down to a simpler timeline. For the curious, here’s how it goes down:
December 24 (Christmas Eve): Guests arrive by the front door, while packages and parcels are delivered through the kitchen at the back.
4pm: Into the White Drawing Room for tea. After tea, everyone heads to the Red Drawing room for the gift swap. Each family member will have a trestle table laid out by the staff with their presents. When it comes to gifts, apparently weirder is better; said McGrady, The crazier and more quirky is what they love. It’s not about something really amazing or a Cartier watch…. Prince Philip would get a peppermill with a light on it and he would think that was hilarious.
8:30pm: Outfit change, followed by Christmas Eve dinner. Usually this will consist of game like pheasant or venison with roasted winter vegetables. The dining room seats 22; the adults will eat here, while the kids will stay in the nursery.
December 25 (Christmas morning): First things first: Breakfast! Usually there’s a full-on fry up for the menfolk, while the ladies will have fruit and boiled eggs taken to them on trays. To which I say: WTF is this?! Ladies like bacon, too!
11am: Church service at St. Mary Magdelene.
After church: Luncheon. This will consist of two 25 lb. turkeys, foie gras, boar’s head, venison, and salmon, with Christmas puddings and mince pies for dessert.
3pm: Everyone gathers to watch the Queen’s annual address to the nation on television; afterwards, they’ll either adjourn to the Saloon to work on the Queen’s favorite jigsaw puzzle or they’ll head out to take the air on the 20,000 acre estate.
Dinner: Cold buffet of lunch leftovers in the dining room. Because TWO 25-POUND TURKEYS.
December 26 (Boxing Day): A more relaxed day, Boxing Day will begin with a big breakfast. Afterwards the men will go shooting; the women might join them, but they might not.
Dinner: The evening meal will consist of three courses, with this as a sample menu: Gleneagle pate or fish, followed by tenderloin steaks with a whiskey mushroom cream sauce, followed by a dessert like trifle. Mmmmm. Trifle. Yum.
End of the day: Guests start to leave, while the estate starts the preparations for the next round of guests who will be visiting for New Year’s Eve.
So there you have it! Are your holidays as big a deal as the royal family’s? Tell us in the comments!
Lucia Peters is BettyConfidential’s senior editor.