Royals | Celebrity

The One Tradition Queen Elizabeth II Breaks Every Christmas

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Just like most families who celebrate Christmas, the royals also have plenty of traditions they stick to during this time of year.

While some of theirs stem from decades ago, others are more recent and deviate from the strict protocol that the family has to follow.

Every Christmas, Queen Elizabeth II and her closest relatives spend some time at Sandringham House, the monarch's country home in Norfolk. The Queen and her husband usually arrive on the 19th or 20th, while the rest of the family makes it in time for Christmas Eve lunch.

While there, they have a slew of activities to keep them busy - a charity soccer game, afternoon tea in the White Drawing Room, Christmas tree decorating, gift exchange, and a black-tie dinner.

According to former royal chef Darren McGrady, the dinner is more formal and involves "something festive, some game, like pheasant or venison, and roasted wintery vegetables, like parsnips. It is usually paired with Dubonnet and gin cocktails, as well as cherry brandy and cider made on the estate.

Those who are close to Her Majesty have previously revealed that she reads a couple of cheesy jokes from the Christmas crackers during the dinner.

However, that's not the only break from her usual routine that happens during the celebrations.

Queen Elizabeth II at Sandringham House
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Over the years, the Queen likes to take a couple of minutes from the family festivities to share a special moment with the head chef.

"Right before the Christmas buffet, the senior chef on duty goes into the dining room and carves the rib roast or turkey or ham and once he's done, Her Majesty presents the chef with a glass of whiskey and they toast," McGrady explained.

This has became one of the chef's favorite traditions because "it the only time the chef goes into the dining room and has a glass of whiskey with the royal family."

Former Royal Chef Darren McGrady
Former Royal Chef Darren McGradyMCFTA

The Queen not only breaks away from tradition by letting the chef into the exclusive room, she's the one doing the pouring and serving instead of the other way around.

The chef definitely deserves a toast in his honor as not only do they make sure that "a buffet dinner with 15-20 items" is served on Christmas, they spend the rest of the year making sure that the Elizabeth, her family, and their guests are well fed.

The Queen is reportedly very good to her staff, and makes sure each of them gets the Royal Christmas Card as well as very special tasty gift.

According to the royal family's website, Her Majesty hands out over 1,500 Christmas puddings to staff in all of the palaces, including Windsor Castle and of course, Buckingham Palace, as well as those who work in the Court Post Office and the Palace Police.

It's a tradition started by her grandfather, George V, and she has kept it alive all these years.

It's nice to know that the royal household staff's hard work doesn't go unnoticed.

Awa has been writing for Shared for 3 years. She is a serial snacker who unapologetically loves celebrity gossip. Drop her a line at awa@shared.com.