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Detail showing decorated christmas trails on tables
A Royal Christmas

How the Royal Family have celebrated Christmas over the centuries

JAMES ROBERTS (C. 1800-67)

Christmas trees of the Duchess of Kent and the royal children at Windsor Castle

dated 1850

RCIN 919813

Other members of the Royal Family had their own Christmas trees and tables, and this watercolour shows those of Queen Victoria’s children and her mother, the Duchess of Kent. In her journal, Queen Victoria recalls the delight that her children experienced on being greeted by this scene: ‘The 7 children were then taken to their tree, jumping & shouting with joy over their toys & other presents.’

Queen Victoria and her family followed the German tradition of exchanging gifts on Christmas Eve, rather than on Christmas Day. This is a tradition members of the Royal Family continue to observe today.

The candles on the trees would be lit when the presents were exchanged. The candles would also be illuminated on Christmas Day, New Year’s Day, and on Twelfth Night to mark the end of the festive period. Gingerbread decorations would also be hung from the trees on the final day of celebrations.

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