Prince William and Prince Harry’s forgotten Christmas Eve tradition

The tradition sadly came to an end several years ago

Prince Harry and Prince William
(Image credit: ROTA/Getty Images/Future)

When Prince William and Prince Harry were younger, just as many familys do, they would come together on Christmas Eve for a fun and sporty tradition that unfortunately came to an end several years ago.

Though they may differ from the average family in many ways, just like many households across the globe, the royals have some quirky and fun Christmas traditions that help them celebrate Christmas.

One such tradition saw Prince William and Prince Harry go head to head as they held a rather competitive Christmas eve football match - an event that has now sadly been abandoned.

The brothers used to kick off the festive season at Sandringham, with the pair joining in with others royals, friends and staff from the estate as they hosted an annual charity football match.

During the game, William and Harry would usually be on opposing teams, fuelling competition in the match.

Prince Harry and Prince william

(Image credit: Samir Hussein/WireImage)

Over the years, the game's players had to battle not only each other, but conditions including heavy wind and rain. One year, the slippery pitch saw Harry on his knees after a particularly ferocious tackle.

However, much to the dismay of royal fans, in 2016 the football tradition came to an end when neither brother turned up for the match, despite, according to The Sun, both being invited to play in it.

Prince Harry and Prince William

(Image credit: OWEN HUMPHREYS/AFP via Getty Images)

At the time of the missed game, Lord Howard, who owns the home opposite the football pitch, said, "They were not expected. One does not like to ask why, but they have enjoyed playing in previous years."

Since 2016, Harry and William's Christmas Eve football tradition has not restarted, with many assuming it is due to the ever-growing rift between them.

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Charlie Elizabeth Culverhouse
Royal News and Entertainment writer

Charlie Elizabeth Culverhouse is royal news and entertainment writer for She began her freelance journalism career after graduating from Nottingham Trent University with an MA in Magazine Journalism, receiving an NCTJ diploma, and earning a First Class BA (Hons) in Journalism at the British and Irish Modern Music Institute. She has also worked with BBC Good Food and The Independent.