How the Royal Family spends Christmas Day – breakfast apart and chats with the Queen

The Queen will be hoping her Sandringham festive break will go ahead as normal this Christmas, and when it comes to Christmas Day, the royals have a very set way of celebrating

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Kate and Meghan all smiles as royals attend church in Sandringham

The Royal Family will be keeping their fingers crossed that their traditional Christmas break at Sandringham will take place this year.

Spiralling Covid cases has already seen the Queen’s annual pre-Christmas lunch for extended family next week scrapped.

And now, it’s thought that traditional events at Sandringham on Christmas Day itself could also be hanging in the balance – with the Queen set to take advice on whether the gathering should take place.

But if the royals are allowed to celebrate together, what exactly do they do on Christmas Day? Here we have the answers…


The Royals kick off the big day with the first of many meals – breakfast – although some of them split up to eat.

The royals at Sandringham in 2018



According to former royal chef Darren McGrady, the women tend to eat breakfast in their rooms while the men sit together downstairs.

He told the Daily Mail: “On Christmas Day, the ladies generally opt for a light breakfast of sliced fruit, half a grapefruit, toast and coffee delivered to their rooms.”

The men on the other hand have a much heartier breakfast, usually including eggs, bacon, mushrooms, kippers and grilled kidneys.


The royals outside church on Christmas Day 2017


AFP via Getty Images)

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The public usually gets to see the Royals when they head out to a traditional Christmas Day church service at St Mary Magdalene.

Hundreds of well-wishers usually gather to see them as they walk into the building, and they often stop to have a chat on the way out – although it remains to be seen if this will happen this year.

Christmas lunch

The festive feast is the main event in most homes on Christmas Day, and it’s no different for the Royals who sit down to eat at 1pm.

Chef Darren revealed exactly what the Queen eats during an interview with Good Housekeeping.

He said: “After church, that’s when they have a big lunch that includes a salad with shrimp or lobster, and a roasted turkey, and all of your traditional side dishes like parsnips, carrots, Brussels sprouts, and Christmas pudding with brandy butter for dessert.

“They stick with the same meal year after year.”

The Queen’s Speech

The Queen during her Christmas speech last year



The message is prerecorded which means the Queen can watch it back surrounded by her loved ones.

However, it’s said she doesn’t like to watch herself on TV, so leaves her family at this point to go and walk her dogs.

Chats with the Queen

According to former royal butler Paul Burrell, all the royals like to have a one-to-one chat with the Queen during the day, but there’s one popular time to do it.

Before Princess Diana’s first royal Christmas, he advised her to try and get some quality time with the monarch when she was sitting at her card table.

William and Kate chat with the Queen



Speaking to Mail Online, he said: “All these people are members of the royal family, they are all larger than life, have character to go with it. Everyone is jostling for position and attention, and they’re bouncing off the walls after four days. It’s like a pinball machine.

“They all want to please the Queen and want airtime with her, it’s the one time that they can sit down with the head of the family and make an impression.

“The best time to do it is when she’s seated at her card table, before and after dinner, she will sit and play Bridge or Canasta and she’ll always ask people to join her, that’s your chance to get quality time and tell the monarch what you’re thinking and feeling.”


Despite the hearty breakfast and big lunch the royal chefs put on an evening buffet for dinner.

Chef Darren says there’s “a buffet dinner with 15-20 different items. It’s always a buffet with the chefs at the table carving.”

Before they all tuck in the senior chef goes into the dining room and carves the meat. Once he’s done, the Queen gives him a glass of whiskey and they toast. It’s the only time the chef is invited into the dining room.

He also revealed that the Queen has a real penchant for chocolate, particularly the dark and minty variety.

Apparently “she always has a chocolate treat on Christmas”.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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