Princess Diana broke the Queen's 'golden rule' during her first royal Christmas

BRAEMAR, UNITED KINGDOM - SEPTEMBER 04: Queen Elizabeth Ll With Princess Diana And Prince Charles Watching The Traditional Highland Games At Braemar. (Photo by Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images)
(Image credit: Tim Graham Photo Library via Get)

Princess Diana broke an all-important "golden rule" when she attended her first royal Christmas as Prince Charles' new wife in 1981.

  • A royal Christmas present tradition of exchanging silly and cheap gifts on Christmas Eve left Princess Diana breaking one of the Queen's golden rules.
  • Diana, unaware of the rule of avoiding expensive gifts, slipped up and bought a lovely gift for Princess Anne.
  • In other royal news (opens in new tab), the Queen has issued a heartbreaking plea to Prince William (opens in new tab) after being kept ‘awake at night’ by grandson’s ‘risk’.

As a tribute to their German roots, the royals have openly shared that they prefer to exchange smaller, lighthearted gifts on Christmas Eve.

During her first Christmas with The Firm at Sandringham, Princess Diana missed the mark when it came to the tradition for cheap and cheerful presents.

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip look at their decorated Christmas tree during the filming of 'The Royal Family', a joint ITV-BBC television documentary about life in the British royal family.

Instead of a cheeky novelty gift, Diana presented Princess Anne with a rather luxurious present.

Going down the route of a glamorous gift, the Princess of Wales bought her new sister-in-law a beautiful cashmere sweater, breaking the rule of inexpensive, cheery, and humorous gifts.

However, the following Christmas, Diana hit the nail on the head by buying a leopard print bath mat for her sister-in-law Sarah Ferguson.

Diana, Princess Of Wales, Smiling On A Walkabout After Attending Christening Service At Sandringham Church. The Princess Is Wearing A Houndstooth Red And White Jacket Designed By Moschino With A Black Polo Neck Jumper And A Broad-brimmed Red Hat.

Credit: Getty
(Image credit: Getty)

Princess Di wasn't the only new royal bride to have to adapt to the strange festive rule. Megan Markle continued the custom of unusual royal Christmas gifts by purchasing a singing toy hamster for the Queen and a novelty spoon with 'cereal killer' written on for Prince William, during her first year at Sandringham.

In the past, Princess Anne bought her brother Charles a white leather toilet seat, while the Queen was reportedly given a shower cap with the words 'Ain't life a b*tch?' written on, by her grandson Prince Harry.

KING'S LYNN, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 25: (L-R) Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, Meghan, Duchess of Sussex and Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex arrive to attend Christmas Day Church service at Church of St Mary Magdalene on the Sandringham estate on December 25, 2018 in King's Lynn, England. (Photo by Stephen Pond/Getty Images)

Credit: Getty

Following a run of high-profile romances before to his marriage to Megan Markle (opens in new tab), Kate Middleton famously gave Harry a 'build your own girlfriend' kit.

Unlike other British families, the royals open their gifts on Christmas Eve, in keeping with their Germanic roots. Before each family member opens their gifts, they are cornered off into a pile around 6pm. The process was previously handled by Prince Philip, who gave each royal permission to unwrap their gifts.