Does the Queen weigh her Christmas guests? The bizarre tradition explained...

The tradition of the monarch weighing guests on an antique scale goes back to the 1900s

Queen Elizabeth II during a Christmas address
(Image credit: Steve Parsons - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

Spencer, the new movie inspired by Princess Diana, opens with a scene of her being weighed by the Royal Family at Christmas. This is a tradition which the Queen reportedly puts all of her festive guests through, and it’s something the Royal Family have been doing since the 1900s.


Every family has their own set of traditions at Christmas. Some gather around the TV to watch the same film each year. Others descend into all-out war over a board game by the afternoon. For the royals, their unusual custom involves weighing their guests.

The Royal Family taking their annual walk at Christmas

(Image credit: BEN STANSALL/AFP via Getty Images)

On the surface, this might seem like an invasive (or even rude) gesture, but it’s actually a tradition that dates back to the early 1900s and the intent is to ensure everyone’s having a good time.

Royal expert Ingrid Seward told Grazia in 2018 that the practice dates back to the early 1900s when King Edward VII would have guests weigh themselves before and after their visits.

Per the royal expert, their perceived enjoyment of dinner and their festive stay with the royals came down to weight gain.

Guests who ate enough and enjoyed themselves were expected to gain about three pounds.

Reports over the years suggest that they first tuck into a turkey dinner, just like many of us. After the roast, the family are said to indulge in an afternoon tea complete with an iced cake.

Even the Queen’s corgis have been lavished with magnificent meals over the years.

Former royal chef Darren McGrady has gone on record saying, "Even the corgis—there were 12 when I was chef—have individual menus, usually involving a rotation of fresh rabbit, beef or chicken with rice and cabbage."

The Palace has never publicly commented on this tradition.