Like most other families, Christmas this year is looking different for the British royal family.
For the first time since 1988, Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Philip and their children, grandchildren and great grandchildren will not be coming together at the queen’s estate at Sandringham to celebrate the holiday.
The visit has been a long-standing tradition for the family, who famously greet spectators as they leave church services on Christmas Day. In recent years the royals’ Sandringham appearances have garnered more attention as the Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle, has joined the royal family.
Markle made her first Christmas appearance in 2017, when she joined the royal family just a month after she and Prince Harry revealed their engagement. The couple joined the family at Sandringham again the following year, but chose to celebrate the holiday separately last year with their newborn son Archie during their six-week holiday break on Vancouver Island.
Last year Prince George and Princess Charlotte made their first Christmas Day appearances at Sandringham when they accompanied their parents Prince William and Kate Middleton to church services.
Princess Diana spent many Christmases at Sandringham and continued to join the British royal family for the holiday after she announced her separation from Prince Charles in 1992, but stopped after their divorce in 1996. One of Princess Diana’s Christmas visits to Sandringham in the early Nineties is the subject of an upcoming film starring Kristen Stewart as the princess. The film follows Princess Diana during a pivotal Christmas holiday where she “decided her marriage wasn’t working and that she needed to veer from a path that put her in line to one day be queen.”
This year the family plans to celebrate separately in compliance with the U.K.’s second lockdown caused by the spike in coronavirus cases. Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip are spending the holiday at Windsor Castle, and reports indicate that Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall, Camilla Parker Bowles, will join them.
Prince William and Middleton have not revealed how they are celebrating Christmas with their three children.
Click through the above gallery to see photos of the British royal family celebrating Christmas through the years.
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