Gifts fit for a Queen! Royal Christmas present traditions

There’s no doubt that Christmas at Sandringham is every bit as extravagant as you’d imagine.

But when it comes to gifts, the Queen and her family don’t go overboard with spending.

While the rest of us open our presents on Christmas Day, the royals have always kept with German tradition and opened theirs on Christmas Eve.

After a big afternoon tea, it’s time for exchanging gifts – and they’re nowhere near as lavish as you’d expect.

Thanks to a fun rule, every family member must include a joke gift with their presents. It’s reported that among the funny presents, Harry gave the Queen a shower cap emblazoned with the words, ‘Ain’t life a b***h’.

It’s also believed Princess Anne once gave Prince Charles a white leather toilet seat. According to former royal reporter Brian Hoey, the Prince then carried the seat with him on foreign trips.

But it seems whoever told Mr Hoey that was continuing the joke. Charles, 71, jokingly shut down the rumour, saying, ‘My own what? Oh, don’t believe all that c**p!’

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Those who have married into the royal family had varying levels of gift-giving success when it came to matching their in-laws’ sense of humour.

Long before Prince Harry met Meghan, his sister-in-law Kate reportedly gave him a ‘grow your own girlfriend’ kit.

But she was too afraid to give the Queen anything remotely rude, so simply presented her with her grandma’s recipe for chutney.

But Meghan opted for a funny gift when she was first invited to Sandringham for Christmas, just weeks after she and Harry had got engaged.

The former actress bought the Queen a singing toy hamster, which apparently left her in ‘hysterics’. A source added, ‘It was so funny, especially when the Queen's corgis tried to take hold of the toy.’

While Meghan’s present at her first royal Christmas went down a storm, the same can’t be said for her late mother-in-law’s festive debut.

In 1981, having only just married Prince Charles, Princess Diana clearly missed the silly gift memo by giving a cashmere jumper to Princess Anne, who, in return, handed her a loo-roll holder.

However, Diana made up for her mistake the following year by buying Sarah Ferguson a leopard-print bath mat!

While the royal family exchange joke presents, the Queen ensures that every member of her staff gets a card from her and Prince Philip while they’re away from Buckingham Palace in December.

She also keeps the Christmas tradition introduced by her grandfather George V, of giving Christmas puddings to all the staff.

Approximately 1,500 Christmas puddings – paid for by the Privy Purse – are given out to the staff each year. In the past, the puddings were believed to be from the posh grocers Fortnum & Mason, but to cut costs in recent years, the Queen has given Tesco’s Finest Matured Christmas Pudding.

All in all, it sounds like it’s going to be a very merry Christmas for everyone at Sandringham and Buckingham Palace again this year!

Jack White
Celebrity Content Director

Jack White is Celebrity Content Director at Future, working across Women's Lifestyle brands such as Woman&Home, Woman, Woman's Own, Women's Weekly and GoodtoKnow. When he's not interviewing your favourite stars or writing about the latest make-up/break up, you'll find Jack searching for new Gemma Collins memes, singing (badly) in the office or binge-watching crime dramas.