Royal Family set to break special Christmas tradition for this sad reason

(Image credit: Getty)

One Royal Family Christmas tradition could be set for a major change for a very sad reason following a difficult 2021.

The Royal Family is preparing for their very first Christmas since the sad passing of the Queen's beloved "strength and stay", Prince Philip, in April. Despite recent reports suggesting that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle won't join (opens in new tab) the Queen for this year's festivities, Her Majesty is believed to be "totally committed" (opens in new tab) to entertaining the Firm (opens in new tab) at Sandringham in Norfolk.

The Queen will undoubtedly love spending this precious time with her closest and dearest, from the delicious meals they share (opens in new tab) to the unique gift exchange. However, it seems that this particular Royal Family Christmas tradition could be about to undergo a serious change.

One of the joys of Christmas is sharing gifts and the Royal Family is famed for exchanging their special presents on Christmas Eve, rather than Christmas Day.

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The royals put out their gifts on the tables as soon as they arrive at Sandringham for the holidays, so each guest gets their own small pile. After they've decorated their Christmas tree - and enjoyed a delicious afternoon tea - the present exchange takes place at 6 p.m. on December 24. But without Prince Philip this year, the annual gift exchange could end up being more than a little different.

It was the late Duke of Edinburgh who was reportedly in charge of overseeing the gift exchange and telling everyone when they could open their presents.

And, despite the fact that Prince William and Kate Middleton have doubled their royal duties (opens in new tab), it's considered unlikely that they'll take over the reigns from him for this special role.

Queen Elizabeth II after she recorded her annual Christmas Day message, in the White Drawing Room of Buckingham Palace in central London.

Credit: Getty Images

Giving an intriguing insight into the special occasion, former royal chef Darren McGrady has opened up about the reason behind their Christmas Eve gift exchange tradition.

He previously explained, "The royals are of German descent so they weave in German traditions to their celebrations. After afternoon tea, they open gifts on Christmas Eve, as is the German tradition."

Still, whilst the order of who opens what when might need a little re-assessing this year, one Christmas gift tradition that the family is sure to keep regards the type of presents. It's said that gifts must be cheap and cheeky, providing many opportunities for some very surprising gifts when Christmas Eve dawns next week!

Kudzai Chibaduki
Features Writer

Since December 2020, Kudzai Chibaduki has worked as a trainee journalist at FUTURE, capturing all fashion, entertainment, and beauty content for the Lifestyle websites, as well as contributing to the shopping sections for's widely read online magazine. Kudzai previously worked as a freelance fashion wardrobe stylist, directing magazine photoshoots and coordinating the fashion direction of recording artists.