20 Rarely Seen Royal Family Christmas Photos
Ah, Christmas. 'Tis the most wonderful time of the year for everyone, and that includes the royal family. These photos, rarely seen, depict some of the royal family's most special Christmas moments.
A royal Christmas
The royal family always seems to be in the public eye, but some celebrations are a little more private. Take a look at these rarely seen photos of the royal around the holidays. For a deeper inside look at how the royal family spends their holidays, check out how the royal family decorates their Christmas tree.
Queen Victoria’s Christmas tree, 1848
This colorful engraving of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert admiring their Christmas tree at Windsor Castle with four of the nine children they’d eventually have together appeared in the Illustrated London News in December 1848. Queen Victoria is known as the “grandmother of Europe” because she had so many children, many of whom had many children and married members of royal families across Europe. She’s also the mutual great-great-grandmother of both Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, which is just one of the ways these two are related.
Princess Mary supports WW I soldiers at Christmas
In 1914, with World War I in full swing, Princess Mary, the daughter of King George V and his wife, Queen Mary, asked the people of Great Britain to help provide a Christmas gift to every serviceman and woman both at home and abroad. This photo on the front cover of Tatler was part of her campaign. As the first-born daughter of the King, Princess Mary was to Great Britain in 1914 what Princess Anne is to Great Britain in 2019. These nostalgic Christmas photos that will take you back a century or more.
Queen Mary doing her Christmas shopping in 1922
The wife of King George V, Queen Mary (born Mary of Teck) opens the holiday shopping season with a visit to Harrods department store in London, where she purchased many of her Christmas gifts.
A past Christmas for the Queen
King George VI and his family attended an early morning Christmas service on December 25, 1936. From left to right in the front of the photo are King George VI, Princess Elizabeth, Princess Margaret Rose, and Queen Elizabeth. This is what Queen Elizabeth II gives her staff for Christmas.
A princess and her mum see a Christmas show in 1937
In 1937, the future Queen, Princess Elizabeth, goes to a children’s Christmas show with her mum, Queen Elizabeth, the wife of King George VI and later The Queen Mother.
Queen Elizabeth II’s first Christmas as Queen
Queen Elizabeth II’s first Christmas as Queen was in 1952. Here she’s pictured with two of her children, Prince Charles and Princess Anne (her two younger children, Prince Andrew and Prince Edward were born later) as well as her sister, Princess Margaret (in the corner of the car window), greeting crowds who call out “Happy Christmas” greetings.
Royal corgi Christmas
The Queen arrives in London with her royal corgis and her two youngest sons, Prince Andrew and Prince Edward, where they spent Christmas before returning to Sandringham. This is what the royal family eats on Christmas day, according to their personal chef.
Leaving Christmas service
Here the royal family is seen leaving the Christmas service at St. George’s Chapel in Windsor in 1968. In the foreground of the photo, you can see Queen Elizabeth II holding the hand of her youngest son, Prince Edward while talking to her husband Prince Philip.
Prince Charles’s first Christmas as Prince of Wales
Prince Charles was made Prince of Wales on July 1, 1969, when he was 21 years old. Here, he’s pictured on Christmas Day of that same year at Windsor Castle with his sister, Princess Anne and ten of the younger members of the royal family, including his brothers, Prince Andrew (fourth from the right) and Prince Edward (far right).
Diana’s first Christmas as Princess of Wales
In this photo taken in late November 1981, the Princess of Wales arrives to turn on the Christmas Lights on Regent Street. Here is the true story of what really happened between Diana and Prince Charles.
Prince William’s first Christmas
In December 1982, Diana, Princess of Wales and her six-month-old baby, Prince William, pose for the cameras for a Christmas portrait. It was the first time William was seen in public since his Christening. Check out these royal milestones you might have missed.
Prince Harry’s first Christmas
Prince Harry had just recently been born in this photo taken on Christmas Day 1984. He’s pictured with his older brother, Prince William, and his parents, Prince Charles and his then-wife, Diana, Princess of Wales. The photo was taken from footage of the BBC’s presentation of The Queen’s Christmas that year.
Princess Diana at a Christmas service
Princess Diana attends the royal’s Christmas day service at Sandringham with her two sons, Prince William and Prince Harry, in 1994. You’ll also want to take a look at these rare, vintage photos of Christmases past.
Eugenie and Beatrice with their father, Prince Andrew
This photo of the princesses, Eugenie and Beatrice, with their father, Prince Andrew, Duke of York, was taken on Christmas Day 1995. The sister princesses, dressed in matching outfits, hold their dad’s hand as they make their way to services at St. Mary Magdalene near Queen Elizabeth’s Sandringham estate. Here’s are 14 things you probably don’t know about Princess Eugenie.
Princess Diana’s last Christmas
This photo of Diana driving herself to the Christmas Carol Concert at Eton School in 1996 has a sad backstory that became apparent only a few months later: it was the Princess of Wales’s last Christmas. She passed away in August 1997. This is how Princess Diana accidentally broke tradition during her first royal Christmas.
A Middleton family Christmas
In 2016, for the first time since they married, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge celebrated Christmas with the Middleton family. Here they’re seen with Princess Charlotte and Prince George, attending services at St. Mark’s Church in Berkshire.
Ms. Meghan Markle and Prince Harry, 2017
In an unprecedented move, Queen Elizabeth II invited a non-royal family member to join the royal family at the Queen’s Christmas celebration at her Sandringham estate. The Queen has broken protocol for the now-Duchess of Sussex all these 12 other times as well.
The Queen and Prince Philip
Here’s the sovereign and her husband of 70 years, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, on Christmas Day 2017. Here’s why we call Philip “Prince” rather than “King.”
Queen Elizabeth is shown here with eight-year-old Shylah Gordon, attaching an ornament to a Christmas tree in early December 2018. This took place during the Queen’s visit to Coram, the children’s charity. Next, read on for 10 royal holiday traditions you’ll want to steal for yourself.