The royal family had a heartfelt reunion ahead of Christmas at Sandringham as the King and Queen hosted a festive gathering at Windsor Castle. The Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh, along with their daughter, Lady Louise Windsor, 20, were among the guests pictured arriving in their cars for the family lunch. Prince Edward, 59, sported a black blazer and white shirt as he drove his family through the gates at Charles’s Berkshire residence, while Sophie, 58, was wrapped up in a dark overcoat. Lady Louise, who has returned home from St Andrews University in Scotland, was pictured in the back seat of the car, wearing what appeared to be a collared blouse.
The Princess Royal, Princess Anne, was also in attendance and was spotted arriving in Windsor with her husband, Vice Admiral Sir Tim Laurence. Princess Anne looked elegant in a dark green coat and a white scarf, paired with a pearl necklace, while Sir Tim donned a gilet over his shirt and tie. It was a true royal affair, with members of the family coming together to celebrate the joyous season.
Carrying on Tradition
Charles has continued his late mother Queen Elizabeth II’s tradition of hosting extended members of his family before leaving to travel to Norfolk later this week. In the past, Queen Elizabeth II would traditionally host a gathering at Buckingham Palace days before taking the train from London to King’s Lynn. However, Charles and Camilla broke tradition last year by hosting the pre-Christmas lunch for the first time at Windsor Castle. Despite the change in venue, they chose to arrive at Sandringham privately, maintaining some sense of tradition and privacy.
The King’s nephew-in-law, Mike Tindall, provided some insight into the royal family’s festive lunch. In an interview on JOE UK’s House of Rugby podcast in 2019, he revealed that the children have their own table in a separate room. Tindall disclosed, “I didn’t drink actually, this is the other one, the family lunch there must be about 70 of us there. There are seven tables, and the kiddies have their own little one in a different room.” It’s a delightful image, picturing the young royals having their own special space to enjoy the festivities. Tindall further mentioned that he had the privilege of sitting at Prince Charles’ table, describing the experience as “lovely” and “really good.”
Over the years, it has been widely reported that the royals opt for novelty or homemade gifts for Christmas, rather than lavish presents. These gifts are exchanged on Christmas Eve, adding a touch of warmth and sentimentality to their celebrations. The late Princess Diana spoke about her experience of buying a Christmas gift for the Queen in the Queen at Ninety documentary in 2016. She reminisced about feeling nervous and shared how she decided to make her granny’s recipe for chutney as a heartfelt gesture. Princess Diana’s homemade chutney was noticed on the table the next day, a heartwarming validation of her thoughtful present. The royal family’s emphasis on personal and meaningful gifts adds a charming touch to their Christmas festivities.
The royal family’s festive gathering at Windsor Castle was a heartwarming occasion, filled with love, tradition, and joy. As they reunited for the holidays, the royals showcased their closeness and commitment to maintaining family traditions. The sight of the Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh, Lady Louise Windsor, Princess Anne, and other members of the family arriving for the lunch was a testament to their bond and shared love for this special time of the year. With their unique gift exchange rituals and the children’s separate table, the royal family’s Christmas celebrations truly embody the spirit of family, love, and togetherness.