The Queen has revealed what it's really like to let total strangers into your house every year. Her official residences around the UK – including Buckingham Palace in London, Windsor Castle in Windsor, and Balmoral Castle and the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Scotland – are open to the public for certain months each year. Thousands of locals, tourists and VIP guests of the royal family are invited to roam around specific areas of the palaces.
In one newspaper extract posted on Twitter by royal journalist Phil Dampier, the Queen's typical good sense of humour was revealed. Former government whip Janet Anderson asked the monarch what it was like opening one's home to the public. "Everyone shuffles along in a line," said Her Majesty as she gave a demonstration. "This means that they push all the carpet pile in one direction, so the following year we have to turn all the carpets round so they can push it back the other way."
The Queen with the Dutch royals in the Picture Gallery
With less than a month to go before Christmas, the Queen and her family will be preparing for the festive holidays. The monarch usually stays in London until the week before Christmas where she hosts a big lunch for her extended family in Buckingham Palace. For Christmas Eve, she and her husband Prince Philip will be back in Sandringham, Norfolk. They put the finishing touches to the 20ft Christmas tree in the White Drawing Room before opening gifts in the Red Drawing Room.
Royals at Christmas:
At 5pm on Christmas Eve, guests enjoy tea, scones, sandwiches and cakes from sideboards in the Saloon. Afterwards, they dress for dinner, with the table set with the finest china. At 8pm a candle-lit dinner is served with the ladies in gowns and jewels, and the men in black tie.
On Christmas Day, the royals attend the traditional church service at St Mary's Magdalene. The royals usually greet well-wishers outside the church and afterwards, it's back home for a turkey roast with all the trimmings at 1pm, before everyone gathers at 3pm to watch the Queen's Speech.
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