In a break with tradition, Queen Camilla's family will be among the guests at King Charles' holiday gathering at Sandringham House this year
Change is in the air for the royals at Christmas.
Each year on Christmas Day, members of the royal family walk to church at St. Mary Magdalene and then return to Sandringham House for a festive lunch. According to the ITV report from royals editor Chris Ship, Camilla's children — Tom Parker Bowles and Laura Lopes — and other members of the Queen's family will join the lunch for the first time this year.
The changed guest list may mean a change of venue for the meal. In a departure from the past and the days of the late Queen Elizabeth, the royals will sit down in the bigger ballroom rather than the dining room.
Ship writes that "the guest list of those attending Christmas lunch back at Sandringham House is being radically altered — and will include many members of Queen Camilla’s family for the first time."
He quotes someone familiar with the plans saying, "The Queen has invited her children and grandchildren this year, which is different from previous years."
🎄 Members of the Royal Family arrive at St Mary Magdalene Church in Norfolk for a Christmas Day service earlier today. pic.twitter.com/CqogG6NTZQ
— The Royal Family (@RoyalFamily) December 25, 2022
Also among Queen Camilla's family is her sister Annabel Elliot, who is one of her "companions," as the palace calls the ladies who help the Queen at her various official events and engagements. Annabel attended to her sister at the coronation in May.
The report adds that Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York (who hosted ITV's This Morning show on Monday) would join the lunch too. Like last year, she and her former husband, King Charles' brother Prince Andrew, will stay at Wood Farm on the Sandringham estate, along with any of their daughter Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie and their children who might be there.
Buckingham Palace had no comment on the arrangements.
In past years, Camilla would leave the royal family's Christmas gathering in the afternoon to spend time with her children and grandchildren on the holiday.
However, royal biographer Ingrid Seward told PEOPLE last year that Queen Camilla would play a big role in hosting the festivities in the first holiday season since Queen Elizabeth's death.
Seward says Camilla "will be a real presence" — "she can't have him hosting his first Christmas on his own."
This Christmas will likely see Kate Middleton and Prince William (and their children Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis) walking to church with King Charles, Queen Camilla and most of the rest of the royal family. Last year saw Prince Louis make his first Christmas Day walk.
As in recent years, King Charles' son Prince Harry and daughter-in-law Meghan Markle aren’t likely to attend the Christmas gathering in the U.K. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have not spent Christmas with the royals since 2018.
King Charles, 75, and Queen Camilla, 76, are currently preparing for the state visit of the President of South Korea, who will be in the U.K. with his wife for two days starting Monday evening.
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