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Mike Tindall reveals the secrets of Christmas at Sandringham with the Royal Family

Zara Tindall's husband opened up about what really happens behind closed doors

Hanna Fillingham

Mike Tindall has given an incredible insight into life with the royals over the Christmas period – and they really are just like every other family! During an appearance on House of Rugby alongside James Haskell, Mike opened up about his Christmas, which saw him spend time with wife Zara Tindall's family in Sandringham. Asked whether Christmas is good at the castle, Mike replied: "Yeah it is good. So Christmas Day is a little more quiet because it's actually a cold buffet because they give everyone the day off, and their big day is Christmas Eve." Mike also revealed that the family all sat around to watch the Queen's speech together "with a little glass of something," while the Downton Abbey Christmas special was a popular choice with many other family members. "I don’t watch it, but there's a lot of people who do," he said.

Mike and Zara Tindall arriving to church on Christmas Day

Opening up about the Queen's close relationship with her staff, Mike added that the monarch made sure that as many of them could have the day off as possible. Despite that, there were still "a lot of meals" on offer throughout the day, as well as plenty of gifts. Praising Zara's "incredible" present buying skills, Mike revealed: "My wife is incredible at present buying. It’s unbelievable. There will probably be - each year at Sandringham - this year, I think there was 27, and she takes presents for each and every one of them. But then before, so, what is it? The 26th, so two weeks ago we had the family Christmas lunch which is ALL extended family members … Maybe 50, 55 - and she buys them all presents."

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The Queen hosts the royal family in Sandringham every Christmas

Following the German tradition, the royals exchange presents on Christmas Eve. The Duchess of Cambridge was seen buying last-minute gifts a few days before the 24 December at discount high street store The Range close to Sandringham, and was thought to also be stocking up on gifts for the royal family's Christmas present exchange. Marlene Koenig, royal historian and founder of Royal Musings, told HELLO!: "The British royals still follow the German tradition of opening presents on Christmas Eve. The members of the family who are present at Sandringham exchange gifts, usually not expensive. The gifts are put out on a trestle table after tea time." Marlene added that it is most likely that the royal children will also open presents on Christmas morning at Anmer Hall, which will be from Santa.

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Christmas was extra-special this year for Mike and Zara, following the arrival of their second daughter, Lena, in June. The couple's eldest daughter Mia, four, will no doubt have been excited to have spent time with her cousins, including Savannah and Isla Phillips, and Prince George and Princess Charlotte, who all joined her in the miniature bridal party at Princess Eugenie's wedding in October.

Baby Lena even got a special mention in the Queen's speech this year, as she reflected on the births of her two youngest great-grandchildren, Lena and Prince Louis. She said: "Closer to home, it's been a busy year for my family, with two weddings and two babies and another child expected soon. It helps to keep a grandmother well occupied."

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