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Why the Queen and the royal family stopped celebrating Christmas at Windsor Castle

The royal family spend their winter months at Sandringham

the queen christmas pantomime windsor
Sharnaz Shahid
Deputy Online Editor
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With one hundred days to go until Christmas, we have decided to delve into the tradition of the festivity within the royal household. While in recent years Christmas and New Year has been celebrated at Sandringham House, the Queen previously used to mark the holiday at Windsor Castle. British monarchs have been celebrating the festive season at Windsor since the twelfth century, with Queen Victoria and Prince Albert opting to reside there with their growing family in winter months. This historic building was where the first ever Christmas tree was "born" during Queen Victoria's reign. However, during the reign of the Queen's father, King George VI, the Christmas season was almost always spent on the Sandringham Estate in Norfolk, and has since become a tradition that the Queen has largely adopted.

the queen princess margaret windsor pantomine© Photo: Getty Images

The Queen and Princess Margaret would even perform pantomimes at Windsor

During the sixties, when the Queen's children were young, the royal family did mark the special occasion at Windsor, where the royals now spend their Easter. But since 1988, when the castle was being rewired, royal Christmases returned to Sandringham House. The Queen's former press secretary Dickie Arbiter recently told HELLO!: "Traditionally the family has always gone to Sandringham at Christmas. It's close to London where she does occasions almost right up to Christmas. She wants to be at Sandringham for the beginning of February, which is the anniversary of the death of her father. So Sandringham has always been the traditional place to go for Christmas until New Year."

MORE: A closer look at the Queen's favourite summer retreat

He added: "Although, having said that, at one stage Windsor Castle was Christmas because it was big enough to take the whole family. But since the fire in 1992, Christmas and New Year – particularly Christmas - it has been in Sandringham. Sandringham is always winter and Balmoral is always summer." As to why the Queen never returned to Windsor for Christmas, a spokesperson from Buckingham Palace told HELLO!: "It would have been the queen's personal choice, it would have been a decision the Queen had taken."

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