King Charles’ ‘holy’ Christmas present for the first time in his reign and he’s not the only monarch to have been blessed with it

King Charles' 'holy' Christmas present is part of a tradition that's lasted centuries and is associated with a significant saint...

King Charles' holy Christmas present revealed. Seen here as he makes a surprise visit to the Christmas tea dance at Dumfries House
(Image credit: Photo by Jane Barlow-WPA Pool/Getty Images)

King Charles’ “holy” Christmas present will soon be received by him for the first time in his reign - and he’s not the only monarch to have been blessed with it. 


King Charles is currently expecting a very special delivery and it’s one his ancestors have received for centuries. Although there’s a royal Christmas tradition which means the Royal Family open gifts on Christmas Eve, there’s one present His Majesty will receive even earlier than that before it’s sent on to Sandringham ready for the big day. In line with a tradition that supposedly can be traced back to King James I’s reign in the 17th century, King Charles’ “holy” Christmas present for 2022 is none other than a sprig of Glastonbury holy thorn. 

As reported by the BBC (opens in new tab), the eldest child from St John’s Infant School in Somerset is responsible for cutting the monarch’s sprig from the thorn in St John’s Church Yard and Eris Collins Diaz did so this year.

Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, is seen during the Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering

(Image credit: Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)

The Glastonbury holy thorn might look relatively ordinary - yet beautiful - but this particular plant is steeped in legend. It’s long been associated with the saint who buried the body of Jesus, Joseph of Arimathea, and Glastonbury Abbey stated that the original Glastonbury holy thorn emerged from his staff after he thrust it into Wearyall Hill in the area.

They are also incredibly unique as they flower twice in the year - in the spring like so many other beautiful plants and a second time at Christmas. It even reportedly featured on British 12p and 13p Christmas stamps in 1986. 

This makes the Glastonbury holy thorn the perfect choice as King Charles’ “holy” Christmas present. The late Queen Elizabeth was also a fan and made sure hers took pride of place on her festive dining table. 

Ornaments and offerings for the Holy thorn with Glastonbury Tor in the background

(Image credit: blue sky in my pocket via Getty)

The Vicar of St John’s Church in Glastonbury, Reverend David MacGeoch, said, “Buckingham Palace are expecting this (thorn) in two days' time. Then they will post it or deliver it to Sandringham where the King spends Christmas and he pops it - we hope, because his mother used to do this - in the center of the dining room table on Christmas Day."

It seems that during the Queen’s 70 year reign she and her family ate their royal Christmas dinner looking over this beautiful present. 

"It brings a piece of Glastonbury to the dining room table of the whole of the crown family, which is fantastic,” Rvd MacGeoch continued. 

Queen Elizabeth II records her Christmas message to the Commonwealth

(Image credit: Photo by John Stillwell - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

The Vicar and Mayor of Glastonbury sent the Glastonbury holy thorn sprig each year. And although it’s thought King Charles’ Christmas plans could be “up in the air” and a little different in 2022 following the Queen's passing in September, it would be so lovely if the special tradition of displaying it on the Christmas dinner table was one His Majesty continued in her honor. 

Emma Shacklock

Emma is a Senior Lifestyle Writer with six years of experience working in digital publishing. Her specialist areas including literature, the British Royal Family and knowing all there is to know about the latest TV shows on the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and every streaming service out there. When she’s not writing about the next unmissable show to add to your to-watch list or delving into royal protocol, you can find Emma cooking and watching yet more crime dramas.