Christmas is a major deal in the British Royal Family. Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip beckon their family to their country estate, Sandringham House where they engage in a ton of various Christmas traditions. They have several meals together and a fancy tea while they put the finishing touches on their massive Christmas tree. The Windsors also take in the fresh air since the queen requires that they keep up with the exercise regimens during the holidays and they also attend church twice on Christmas Day.
However, Queen Elizabeth II doesn’t just relegate Christmas cheer to members of her family; she also uses the holiday season as an opportunity to celebrate the royal staff who work tirelessly each year to make sure that the royal family’s needs are met. These are the gifts the British Royal staff can expect to get from the Windsor family matriarch.
Queen Elizabeth II | Stefan Wermuth/WPA Pool /Getty Images
Nothing says “Thank you” like a wad of cash
The Queen of England has a massive staff of 550 which means she doesn’t exactly have time to be picking out specific gifts for each individual person. However, she does gift every single member from the chef to the housekeepers with a gift or book voucher. Each gift card — as we call them in the States is loaded with various dollar amounts. If you’ve been employed by the queen for some time, you can expect a much more robust gift card than someone who has only been in her service for a few months.
A lovely Christmas pudding
In addition to her gift cards, Queen Elizabeth II sends around 1,500 Christmas puddings to share between them. This means that each person gets about three pudding each, so if you have a family member or friend who works at Windsor castle and you happen to get pudding for Christmas–then it might be a hand me down gift from the queen.
The pudding and the gift cards are accompanied by a lovely Christmas card from Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip.
The Queen adores Christmas | John Stillwell-WPA Pool/Getty Images
This is how the gifts are given out
Like everything else in the British Royal Family, the gifts are given out using rigorous protocol. According to the Express, “A senior officer calls out each person’s name according to their rank, starting with the most senior household staff. Then, the Queen personally hands each staff member his or her gift. ”
Toasting the chef
The head British Royal chef gets something a little extra from the queen after he or she puts the finishing touches of the royal family’s Christmas dinner. Christmas is the only time the main royal chef comes out to greet the royal family. Former royal chef Darren McGrady explained, “At the end of the carving, it’s the one time of the year that she would give the head chef a drink, and he will toast [the family] with “Happy Christmas.” He’d get a whiskey, and they’d toast him and say thank you, and that was them saying thank you for the whole year.”
These gifts and traditions seem much better than the presents the royal family gift one another. They don’t exchange traditional gifts at Christmas time. McGrady told People, “The crazier and the more quirky is what they love. It’s not about something really amazing or a Cartier watch.”
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