It’s that time of year again when decorations go up, trees come through the front door, presents are wrapped and of course, when The Queen goes to Sandringham.
Mid-December is traditionally the time that Her Majesty The Queen vacates London, and heads for the Norfolk countryside to begin her festive holiday. We expect to see the Royal Standard come down at Buckingham Palace as The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh travel on a public train service to Norfolk at some point next week.
Christmas for most people is a time to spend with family, and Her Majesty is no different: the entire family congregates at the Norfolk estate, one of the few times a year this is possible. The Queen is known to be fond of Sandringham for this reason, as well as the privacy it affords her and her family. As such, Prince Philip spent time at Sandringham as he recovered from surgery earlier this year, being the perfect, quiet spot to recuperate.
Other family members will arrive closer to the week of Christmas day, while The Queen prefers to spend longer there.
The 600 acre estate has been in the family since 1862, and belongs to The Queen personally, unlike Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle, which are both property of Her Majesty in right of crown. It is a working estate with tenant farmers and a studdery which The Queen takes a great interest in. Though it is her Christmas holiday, the 87-year-old monarch does not stop working whilst at Sandringham, continually reading her red boxes and making arrangements, as well as catching up with the goings on of the estate and its farmers, though traditionally Christmas Day (as well as occasionally on her birthday) is the only day when The Queen doesn’t get a red box through.
This will be Prince George’s first Christmas, and it is thought he will spend it at Sandringham House with his parents.
There are many traditional festivities the Royals enjoy whilst on the estate, like the Christmas Day service and the traditional boxing day shoot. When the Queen leaves Sandringham in February, the house opens again to the public; until then, we can look forward to Her Majesty’s Christmas Message at 3pm on Christmas Day.