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Detail showing decorated christmas trails on tables

Christmas in the Royal Collection

Dr Ernst Becker (1826-88)

The Queen's Christmas Tree, Windsor Castle 24 Dec 1857

RCIN 2906247

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In addition to watercolours, a number of photographs of Queen Victoria’s Christmas celebrations can be found in the Royal Collection, including this example from 1857. One of the most prominent presents is a group of eighteen hand-coloured photographs of the actor Charles Kean and his company. Queen Victoria attended many of Charles Kean’s performances and he was invited to stage a number of Shakespearean plays at Windsor Castle.

Prince Albert’s gift of the photographs to Queen Victoria is a testament to the royal couple’s  encouragement of the new medium of photography and their love of collecting. They laid the foundation for the largest part of the Royal Collection, the Photograph Collection, which today contains over 450,000 items.