Kate Middleton and Prince William give thanks to key workers
The Duchess of Cambridge was very close to her brother-in-law for many years ‒ close enough that she could give him a ‘grow your own girlfriend’ kit. This is all because of a special royal tradition whereby they all give each other cheap, joke presents. The gift exchange happens on Christmas Eve, respecting the family’s German heritage.
It is believed that this tradition was first introduced by Queen Victoria’s husband Albert.
Trestle tables are laid out in the Red Drawing Room at Sandringham with red tape marking out where each family member’s presents go.
Then, at around 6pm the family gathers to open the presents, supervised by Prince Philip.
Some other wacky presents over the years include a white leather toilet seat, which Princess Anne gave to her brother Prince Charles and a shower cap Prince Harry gave to the Queen which bore the slogan ‘Ain’t Life a B****’.
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Kate once bought Harry a ‘grow your own girlfriend kit’
William, Kate and Harry were very close in the past
On Meghan Markle’s first Christmas with the royals, she got the Queen a singing hamster toy, but unfortunately one of the dogs got hold of it and broke it.
Back in 1981, Princess Diana was not told about this long-standing tradition and so naturally bought everyone luxury items, including Cashmere scarves and jumpers.
Everyone thought this was very funny except Diana herself, who was mortified.
In return for a Cashmere jumper she bought Princess Anne, her sister-in-law had bought her a toilet roll holder.
Princess Diana with Prince William at Christmas
However, the Princess of Wales ‒ who many people said had a great sense of humour ‒ got into the spirit of it in later years.
One of her gifts included a leopard print bath mat for Sarah Ferguson.
Sadly, the royals will miss out on this beloved tradition this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The Queen cancelled the Sandringham Christmas festivities weeks ago and the family are instead scattered around the country and even overseas.
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The Royal Family heading to church on Christmas Day 2018
Meghan Markle and Prince Harry will be experiencing their first Christmas together in California, along with their one-year-old son Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor.
This side of the Atlantic, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has imposed new restrictions on the south east of England, meaning several royals will be prevented from seeing loved ones over Christmas.
Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie will not be able to see each other, for example, or either of their parents.
In the rest of England, up to three households can “bubble” for Christmas and the devolved parliaments also have separate rules.
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This month has been a busy one for Prince William and Kate, Duchess of Cornwall.
They embarked on an ambitious Royal Train tour of the country, visiting 10 cities in Scotland, England and Wales.
During their tour, they thanked key workers including transport drivers, the ambulance service, NHS staff, teachers, care workers and volunteers.
They also met with communities who have been affected by Covid-19.
The eight senior royals at Windsor this month
At the end of the tour, the Cambridges met the Queen and the other five senior royals at Windsor for a very special picture.
They also took their children to see a pantomime at the London Palladium put on for the families of frontline workers.
Meanwhile, Harry and Meghan have launched a podcast with Spotify, and a holiday special will be released in the coming days.