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 is a Senior Lifestyle Writer with five years experience working in digital publishing, ranging from book publishing to magazines. She currently looks after all things Lifestyle for Woman&Home, GoodToKnow and My Imperfect Life.


Before she joined Future Publishing, Emma graduated from the University of Warwick with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and Comparative Literary Studies. After leaving education, she started out her publishing career in the world of books, working as a Publisher for an independent digital publisher specializing in back-list and debut commercial fiction novels. With a huge book list and a passion for bringing the best stories to the broadest audience possible, Emma filled her spare time with reading the latest best-sellers and catching up on hit adaptations.


In 2017 she joined TI Media as a fiction writing coordinator on Woman’s Weekly and Woman’s Weekly Fiction as part of the features team. From here, she used her love of books, working to bring short stories to our dedicated readers and began writing for the books pages of Woman, Woman’s Own and Woman&Home, as well as online features ranging from genre round-ups to travel pieces for womanandhome.com. 


After honing her skills, Emma branched out online in 2020 when Future gave her the opportunity to focus on digital-first. When she’s not writing about the next big lifestyle trend, she enjoys cooking, long walks and watching as many crime dramas as she can!