The pungent food Princess Anne adores at Christmas and her stealthy dessert trick for getting rid of guests early

A Christmas at Princess Anne’s Gatcombe Park estate is a surprisingly relaxed and relatable affair

Princess Anne has a "relaxed" Christmas at Gatcombe Park
(Image credit: Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)

While it’s well known that the Royal Family congregate as a unit at Sandringham for Christmas, it’s not always clear what each family does before coming together. It’s reported that Princess Anne – famous for her down-to-earth nature – has a suitably on-brand relaxed affair at her home estate. The Princess Royal’s Christmas typically includes strong smelling cheeses, enjoying tea and biscuits with the staff and a relaxing afternoon spent on the sofa.


When it comes to the Royal Family, tradition tends to be one of the most important things.

That’s why we know the common foods the family can’t eat, or the fact that the Queen had quite a boring favorite Christmas menu.

However, not every royal is as traditional, and when left to their own devices, it’s not always clear how they spend special occasions.

But, thanks to an article in The Lady (opens in new tab), we know more about how Anne, the Princess Royal spends Christmases home at her Gatcombe Park estate.

Princess Anne likes a strong cheese at Christmas at her private home, before joining the family at Sandringham

(Image credit: Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)

In the magazine, they describe how the ideal Christmas for Anne involves "sitting at her long kitchen table munching on a piece of strong cheese (the smellier the better) or curled up on a sofa in her conservatory reading a book.”

A very relatable and relaxed Christmas, which is in keeping with the Princess Royal’s well-documented low-key nature.

Anne's holidays are said to be a "very relaxed" affair, decorating the Christmas tree herself, and always joining the Gatcombe staff in the kitchen afterwards for "a cup of tea and a Harrods biscuit (often past their sell-by date on the tin).”

While we know the far-from-glamorous Christmas dinner the royals eat at Sandringham, we learn that Anne indulges a bit more at her own home.

Princess Anne and Sir Timothy Laurence's Gatcombe Park christmases are a "very relaxed affair"

(Image credit: Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)

The article explains, "The kitchen takes on a real Victorian feel where the cook prepares game terrines, jams, chutneys and all sorts of wonderful edible delights that are stored on the large wooden dresser".

Like her nephew, Earthshot Prize founder Prince William, Princess Anne is conscious of the environment and minimizing waste. Staff are, therefore, encouraged to find a use for everything in the kitchen

This insight into Princess Anne’s Christmas planning and festivities are perfectly in line with what’s been reported about the royal in the past. According to MailOnline, the Princess doesn’t feel the need to show off when she has company outside of the festive period.

She likes to serve "whichever she could defrost the quickest," along with boiled potatoes and either peas or green beans. As for her surprisingly effortless (and speedy) culinary choices, Anne hilariously explained, “after all, one wants everyone out of the house by 9.15pm at the latest.”

And don’t even think about waiting around for extra dessert. “For pudding, I pass them a choc ice to eat in the car”, Anne has said.

Practical, to the point and perfectly timed so she could go back to reading on the sofa. We’re impressed!

Jack Slater
Freelance writer

Jack Slater is not the Last Action Hero, but that's what comes up first when you Google him. Preferring a much more sedentary life, Jack gets his thrills by covering news, entertainment, celebrity, film and culture for woman&home, and other digital publications.


Having written for various print and online publications—ranging from national syndicates to niche magazines—Jack has written about nearly everything there is to write about, covering LGBTQ+ news, celebrity features, TV and film scoops, reviewing the latest theatre shows lighting up London’s West End and the most pressing of SEO based stories.