Inside The Queen's opulent Windsor Castle dining room where she'll host Christmas dinner

Her Majesty traditionally celebrates Christmas at Sandringham

The Queen will celebrate Christmas at Windsor Castle for the second year in a row in a "precautionary approach" to the surge in coronavirus cases, it was announced on Monday.

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Close family including Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall and Prince Edward and the Countess of Wessex are expected to visit the monarch over the Christmas period, and while they will no doubt miss the familiar comforts of Sandringham, where they typically celebrate, they have the most resplendent setting in which to tuck into their Christmas dinner.

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The State Dining Room at Windsor Castle was one of the most badly-damaged rooms in the fire that engulfed the residence in 1992. However, much of the historic furniture survived the blaze, and it has since been restored to its former glory and decorated in a rich red and gold colour palette.

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Images released of the dining room when it was decorated for a Victorian Christmas exhibition showed a long dining table at the centre, laid with pieces from the Grand Service, a dining service of silver gilt which was commissioned by George IV from Royal Goldsmiths, Rundell, Bridge & Rundell.

The State Dining Room at Windsor Castle was badly damaged by a fire in 1992

Ornate gold panelling covers the walls and ceilings, while stunning ruby red floor-length curtains hang at the windows, and gold-trimmed mahogany tables line one wall. There is also an open fireplace with a portrait of Queen Victoria hanging overhead.

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Typically, the room would be used for larger gatherings, so Her Majesty may decide to host her more intimate Christmas dinner elsewhere within the castle – and she would have plenty of rooms to choose from.

The 900-year-old residence is the largest occupied castle in the world with around 1,000 rooms, so there may be another space better suited for a smaller gathering.

The room is decorated in an opulent red and gold colour scheme

Along with changing plans for her annual Christmas break at Sandringham, the Queen also cancelled her traditional pre-Christmas lunch at Windsor Castle, where she was set to host members of the extended family.

It is the second year in a row that the Queen has had to cancel her traditional lunch, after last year's pandemic restrictions.

Traditionally the gathering takes place at Buckingham Palace, but the monarch had instead organised for the family catch-up to be held at Windsor Castle as her London residence is undergoing renovation works.

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