Mobile menu

A Royal Christmas

Christmas in the Royal Collection

Detail showing decorated christmas trails on tables

The Royal Collection contains many objects that show how monarchs have celebrated Christmas over the centuries. These include images of decorated Christmas trees, personal cards and presents, depictions of visits to festive shows and costumes for the pantomime. Many customs associated with the festive period have been popularised by the Royal Family, and Queen Elizabeth II's Christmas Message was a natural part of Christmas Day for millions of viewers.

Windsor Castle Christmas tree in St George's Hall 2022

The Christmas tree in St George's Hall ©

Two royal residences have been at the centre of festive celebrations. Monarchs have been celebrating Christmas at Windsor Castle since the 12th century, and Queen Victoria, Prince Albert and their growing family would always spend the festive season at the Castle. During the reigns of King Edward VII, King George V and King George VI, the Christmas season was almost always spent on the Sandringham Estate in Norfolk, and this is a tradition that Queen Elizabeth II largely adopted, with Christmas celebrations centring on Sandringham for most of her reign.

Follow the menu above, or click on a selection below to explore further.

The Christmas Tree

The Christmas tree was introduced to Britain by Queen Charlotte

Christmas presents

Many items in the Royal Collection today entered as gifts at Christmas time

Christmas cards

The first Christmas cards were sent in 1843

Queen Elizabeth II's Christmas Broadcast

The Royal Christmas Message has been a part of Christmas Day since 1932

Festive activities

Queen Victoria and Prince Albert spent many Christmases at Windsor, enjoying the winter season.

Christmas at the Palaces

The State Apartments are decorated for Christmas each year