Christmas Day for the royal family is going to look a bit different this year. Due to the ongoing pandemic, there won't be an annual walk to services at St. Mary Magdalene church, and Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip won't be spending the holidays at Sandringham estate—breaking a decades-long royal tradition. Instead, the couple plans to celebrate "quietly" at Windsor Castle.
But even if the Queen and Prince Philip are having a low-key Christmas, it'll still be plenty festive. Windsor Castle has been decorated to the nines this year with Christmas trees, twinkle lights, and festive garlands.
The centerpiece of the castle's Christmas decor is a 20-foot-high Norway spruce tree, sourced from Windsor Great Park. The tree sits in St. George's Hall, the largest room in the castle, and is decorated with 3,000 lights and hundreds of iridescent ornaments. Starting today, visitors to Windsor Castle can also view this jaw-dropping tree, which took Royal Collection Trust staff two full days to decorate.
In addition to the spruce, other parts of the castle were also gussied up for the holiday season. The State Dining Room now showcases the Grand Service, a silver-gilt dining service commissioned by King George IV in 1806 (while he was Prince Regent), in honor of the bicentenary of George IV’s accession to the throne. The service, which consists of over 4,000 pieces, is still used by the royal family today for State Banquets.
In other parts of the castle, holiday decorations complement existing features. Garlands pepper the Grand Staircase, which is home to some of the most notable arms and armor from the Royal Collection. In the Queen's Gallery, small Christmas trees line the room's perimeter, standing alongside rare silver furniture.
And finally, while the 20-foot spruce might be the most impressive tree in Windsor Castle, it is by no means the only one. In the Inner Hall sits another Christmas tree, decorated with shimmering lights and ornaments. The space, created by George IV in the 1820s as an area to greet official guests, is now the first room visitors see when they enter the castle.
Those who visit the royal residence this holiday season should be sure to also stop by the castle's Undercroft Café. For the holiday season only, the restaurant will serve a variety of festive fare, from turkey sandwiches to cranberry and orange éclairs.
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