After the reigning sovereign — and late husband Prince Philip — canceled last year’s festivities amid the pandemic, the royal family was gearing up for a return to normalcy this year.
“The Cambridges are spending Christmas with the Queen at Sandringham. It’s going to be a big family affair,” a source exclusively told Us Weekly earlier this month, noting that “George, Charlotte and Louis are absolutely delighted to be seeing their great grandmother in person again.”
The insider revealed that Prince George, 8, Princess Charlotte, 6, and Prince Louis, 3, “spent hours picking out their own festive gifts” for their great-grandmother ahead of their family gathering. “Charlotte and George made her paintings of The Christmas Story in art class at school.”
Amid the lockdown last year, the queen and the Duke of Edinburgh — who died in April at age 99 — spent the holidays at Windsor Castle instead of their Norfolk, UK, home at Sandringham Estate. The couple had been isolating at their Windsor residence since the country’s shutdown.
“Having considered all the appropriate advice, The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh have decided that this year they will spend Christmas quietly in Windsor,” a Buckingham Palace spokesperson confirmed in December 2020.
Queen Elizabeth’s traditional holiday plans often include a Sandringham celebration with the rest of the royal family, including a lunchtime party and a walk to church together. She also usually hosts a holiday party at Buckingham Palace and gives a televised speech on Christmas Day.
During last year’s broadcast, the long-running sovereign opened up about bringing people together despite the lengthy separation.
“Every year we herald the coming of Christmas by turning on the lights. And light does more than create a festive mood —light brings hope,” she explained during her speech last December. “Remarkably, a year that has necessarily kept people apart has, in many ways, brought us closer. Across the Commonwealth, my family and I have been inspired by stories of people volunteering in their communities, helping those in need.”
Queen Elizabeth II continued at the time, “In the United Kingdom and around the world, people have risen magnificently to the challenges of the year, and I am so proud and moved by this quiet, indomitable spirit. To our young people, in particular, I say thank you for the part you have played. … Let the light of Christmas — the spirit of selflessness, love and above all hope — guide us in the times ahead. It is in that spirit that I wish you a very happy Christmas.”
The royals have been getting in the festive spirit this year, as the Royal Family’s official Instagram account showed off the queen’s well-decorated Christmas trees inside several of her palaces. Prince William and Duchess Kate, for their parts, unveiled their annual family holiday card.
“Delighted to share a new image of the family, which features on this year’s Christmas card,” the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, both 39, captioned a December 10 Instagram snap with George, Charlotte and Louis.
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