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King Charles cements new royal tradition with New Year plans

 There is a more open and less formal approach under King Charles's reign


King Charles by a set of wooden benches© WPA Pool
Faye James
Senior Editor
January 2, 2024
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The Royal Family, under the leadership of King Charles, is gradually embracing changes while upholding the long-standing traditions established during Queen Elizabeth's 70-year reign. 

This recent Christmas was marked by familiar customs, including the traditional dinner and the annual Sandringham walkabout, but subtle alterations were observed, reflecting a transition in royal practices.

Queen Camilla introduced a more relaxed atmosphere, evident in her choice of casual outfit for lounging. 

Additionally, there was a noticeable change in the photo policy, with an extended guest list, suggesting a more open and less formal approach under King Charles's reign. 

King Charles in front of a Christmas tree
The monarch's Christmas tree sees a change in tradition

This shift indicates Charles's growing confidence in his role as King and his willingness to deviate from established norms.

A significant departure from tradition is expected in the King and Queen’s January plans. Unlike Queen Elizabeth, who traditionally stayed in Sandringham until February to commemorate her ascension to the throne and her father's passing, King Charles plans to spend most of January in Scotland. 

King Charles and Queen Camilla© Geoff Robinson
King Charles and Queen Camilla arriving for the morning service at St Mary Magdalene Church in Sandringham on Christmas Eve

The royal couple, after spending New Year’s Eve at Sandringham, are anticipated to travel to Aberdeenshire, residing at Birkhall on the Balmoral estate, The Telegraph reports.

Birkhall holds a special place in Charles's heart, being a favorite residence and a site of personal milestones, including his proposal to Camilla and their honeymoon.

Charles at his Scottish residence, Birkhall, in Ballater© Getty
Charles at his Scottish residence, Birkhall, in Ballater

King Charles has expressed his affection for Birkhall, particularly its garden, which he described as "a special place" in an interview with Country Life.

 His attachment to the estate's garden, crafted by his grandmother, reveals a deep personal connection and a desire to maintain its legacy while adding his touch.

“It is such a special place, particularly because it was made by my grandmother. It is a childhood garden, and all I’ve done, really, is enhance it a bit,” he said. 

charles birkhall© Clarence House
King Charles at Birkhall

The royal couple's final appearance in Sandringham, joined by the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester, showcased another subtle change. 

Queen Camilla's attire for the New Year service mirrored the Princess of Wales’s fashion choice from Christmas Day, indicating a shift towards a more contemporary royal fashion trend.

This Christmas walkabout was also notable for including various family members like Prince William, Princess Kate, Princess Anne, Sir Timothy Laurence, and notably Sarah Ferguson, who participated for the first time in over three decades. 

This inclusion signals an evolving dynamic within the Royal Family and a potential openness to broader family participation in royal events.

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