Queen’s heartbreak as yet another royal Christmas tradition is cancelled this year

The Queen's gift-giving ceremony for royal staff likely won't be happening

Britain's Queen Elizabeth II posing for a photograph after she recorded her annual Christmas Day message, in Windsor Castle
(Image credit: Photo by Steve Parsons / POOL / AFP) (Photo by STEVE PARSONS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

The Queen has reportedly been forced to cancel another royal Christmas tradition due to the pandemic.

The restrictions put in place over the festive season have already seen the Queen abandon many royal Christmas staples. For the first time in 33 years Britain’s monarch will not spend the big day at Sandringham in Norfolk. Instead, it was announced this week, she and Prince Philip would be celebrating Christmas “quietly” at Windsor Castle. 

The royal couple have already spent England’s second lockdown at their Berkshire castle. Now reports claim that the monarch has had to cancel yet another festive plan - the annual gift-giving for royal staff. 

What is the gift-giving ceremony and why is it a royal tradition?

The Queen usually buys a small gift for each member of the royal staff. The monarch then personally hands over gifts to a small selection of staff members at Buckingham Palace and Windsor castle, usually accompanied by a festive Christmas pudding for them to enjoy. 

The annual gift-giving usually takes place during advent and those chosen to receive their gifts from the Queen usually include long-serving staff members or employees who’ve had a successful year. 

Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge attend the Christmas Day Church service at Church of St Mary Magdalene

(Image credit: Photo by Stephen Pond/Getty Images)

In the past, there have been reports of employees being treated to everything from champagne flutes to photo frames. This festive tradition is the Queen’s way of thanking her staff for all their hard work throughout the year.

Why has the Queen cancelled this royal Christmas tradition?

With so many royal Christmas traditions already cancelled, the suggestion made in the Daily Mail that this annual ceremony will not take place this year is sad indeed. It has been reported that the gift-giving ceremonies have been cancelled due to social distancing regulations. 

The need for the 94-year-old Queen to be careful and remain in a strict operational bubble has also been cited as a potential reason for this.

Queen Elizabeth II stands in front of a Christmas tree at Buckingham Palace after recording her Christmas Day television broadcast

(Image credit: Photo by Rota/ Anwar Hussein/Getty Images)

How have the Queen’s staff members reacted to the news?

According to the Daily Mail, a source has opened up about the cancellation. They called it “a great shame”, adding that it was “inevitable and the right thing to do”. 

They explained that the staff “will still receive a gift from the Queen as usual”. Though there will be no “special moment with Her Majesty”. 

The source also spoke of the Queen’s own sadness at this. “It’s as much a disappointment for her as it will be for them, as it’s a hugely special time of the year,” they claimed.

‘And like offices around the country there will be no Christmas parties at Buckingham Palace or any of the royal residences this year. It’s the way it has to be.’

The gifts are thought to be paid for by the Queen with her own money and are a wonderful expression of thanks.

Whilst the news of this latest cancellation has no doubt caused disappointment for many, the news that the hard-working staff members still will still receive a gift shows they are valued by the monarch.

As the Queen prepares for a very different Christmas this year, this may not be the last royal tradition that might not end up happening. 

Emma Shacklock

Emma is a Royal Editor with eight years experience working in digital publishing. Her specialist areas include the British Royal Family, ranging from protocol to outfits. Alongside putting her royal knowledge to good use , Emma knows all there is to know about the latest TV shows on the BBC, ITV and more. When she’s not writing about the next unmissable show to add to your to-watch list or delving into royal protocol, Emma enjoys cooking, long walks and watching yet more crime dramas!