Why the Queen forbids George and Charlotte from sitting with their parents at Christmas lunch

The Queen makes Prince William and Kate Middleton's children sit in a separate room for the festive meal, according to insiders

Why the Queen forbids George and Charlotte from sitting with their parents at Christmas lunch
(Image credit: Getty)

The Queen forbids the Royal Family's youngest members, including Prince George and Princess Charlotte, from sitting with their parents at her annual Christmas lunch—and there's a fairly good reason for it. 

With Christmas just over a week away, the Royal Family is busy getting ready for a long-awaited reunion after an undeniably tough year. 

The Queen, who has suffered a string of health issues over the past two months, is expected to be joined by her relatives at Sandringham House on 25 December, for what will be her first festive holiday since Prince Philip died in April. The 95-year-old monarch is likely to remain at the Norfolk estate until 6 February, the anniversary of her late father's death, when she will finally return to the capital. 

Unfortunately, certainty over the Queen's Christmas plans 2021 has been hard to guarantee—especially with the recent rise of COVID-19 cases in the UK. While royal fans continue to hope that the Head of State will be able to host her traditional bash, fears are growing that she could be looking at yet another quiet Yuletide at Windsor Castle

Queen's Christmas tree

(Image credit: Getty)

The Queen even canceled her pre-Christmas lunch because of growing concern over the Omicron variant, sparking questions over the likelihood of the official celebrations going ahead next week. 

Even if the lunch had gone ahead though, it wouldn't exactly have been a full-blown reunion between Her Majesty and her relatives. Unlike 'regular' family gatherings, the Windsors' get-togethers tend to separate the kids from the adults—especially when it's time to eat. 

Queen eating at banquet

The Queen has never allowed royal children to sit at the Christmas dining table with their parents 

(Image credit: Getty)

It's been widely reported that the Queen's great-grandchildren traditionally sit in a separate room to their parents for the annual lunch, where they are supervised by nannies while the older royals enjoy a peaceful meal with their fellow grown-ups. 

According to Her Majesty's former chef, Darren McGrady, the kids were never allowed to join their mums and dads at the dining table on Christmas until they were "old enough to conduct themselves properly." 

With special occasions of the utmost importance in her social calendar, the Queen reportedly has no tolerance for unruly behavior from the youngest royals. This rule even applies to Prince William and Kate Middleton's children, Princess Charlotte and Princes George and Louis. 

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh pose with their great grandchildren (L-R) Prince George, Prince Louis being held by Queen Elizabeth II, Savannah Phillips (standing at rear), Princess Charlotte, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, Isla Phillips holding Lena Tindall, and Mia Tindall in 2018 in United Kingdom. (Photo by The Duchess of Cambridge via Getty Images)

The Queen and the late Prince Philip with great-grandchildren, Prince George, Prince Louis, Princess Charlotte, Isla Phillips, Savannah Phillips, Lena Tindall and Mia Tindall in 2018

(Image credit: Duchess of Cambridge/Getty)

"For the Queen, there was never a case of putting a high chair at the table with a little baby squealing and throwing food," McGrady explained in an interview with HELLO! "It was Victorian. The children's place was in the nursery and Nanny would take care of them. It's your modern-day Downton Abbey."

While it may seem a little archaic to banish the tots to another room, there's actually a fairly good reason behind it. According to royal expert Phil Dampier, Her Majesty orders that the children be seated separately to allow their parents some much-needed adult conversation. 

“There’s that division between the kids and the grown-ups, so the grown-ups can all sit down and have a natter,” he told the Sun

Mike Tindall, the husband of Princess Anne's daughter Zara, has also verified this claim. Speaking about his 2019 Christmas lunch experience on The Good, The Bad, and The Rugby, he explained to his podcast co-hosts how the seating layout was arranged. 

"This is the family lunch, there were seven tables so there must have been about 70 of us there," he shared. "The kiddies have their own little one in a different room."

Emma Dooney
Lifestyle News Writer

Hailing from the lovely city of Dublin, Emma mainly covers the Royal Family and the entertainment world, as well as the occasional health and wellness feature. Always up for a good conversation, she has a passion for interviewing everyone from A-list celebrities to the local GP - or just about anyone who will chat to her, really.

Emma holds an MA in International Journalism from City, University of London, and a BA in English Literature from Trinity College Dublin.