Scroll down to find out more about how The Royal Family have celebrated Christmas over the last 1000 years.
1066 25th December
King Stephen is bornBorn Stephen of Blois in c.1095, the future King Stephen was named after St. Stephen, the first martyr of Christianity. St Stephen's day is celebrated on 26 December, known as 'Boxing Day' in the United Kingdom. St Stephen is also mentioned in the English Christmas Carol 'Good King Wenceslas.'
King John's Christmas - a poem by AA MilneCrowned in 1199, King John's reign is infamous; heavy taxation, disputes with the Church (John was excommunicated by the Pope in 1209) and unsuccessful attempts to recover his French possessions made him unpopular. Many of his barons rebelled, and in June 1215 they forced King John to sign a peace treaty accepting their reforms. This treaty, later known as Magna Carta, limited royal powers, defined feudal obligations between the King and the barons, and guaranteed a number of rights.
1264 25th December
Henry VIII bans 'Boy Bishops'Another English Christmas Tradition was to elect a 'Boy Bishop' on 6 December (the Feast of Saint Nicholas) whose authority as a Bishop would last until Holy Innocents Day (28 December). The elected boy would dress in full Bishop's regalia and perform Church services. In 1542 King Henry VIII outlawed the practice.
Christmas is reinstated!After living in exile for nine years, Charles II (eldest surviving son of executed Charles I) returned to London in 1660 and was restored to the throne. Charles II set about restoring The Monarchy and created a new set of Crown Jewels. He also reversed the legislation that prohibited religious festivals.
1714 25th December
The first Christmas Tree!Queen Charlotte, consort of King George III, is credited for introducing the Christmas tree to Britain. Christmas trees were originally a German custom and Charlotte was from the German Duchy of Mecklenburg-Strelitz. However, these eighteenth century trees used branches of yew tree rather than the traditional fir trees that are popular today.
1832 24th December
1850 25th December
A Christmas theftIn 1296, King Edward I deposed the Scottish King John Balliol and removed the 'Stone of Scone' from Scotland. It was taken to Westminster Abbey where it was placed below the Coronation Chair where it remained until Christmas Day in 1950, when it mysteriously vanished. In 1951 the Stone appeared at the high altar of Arbroath Abbey in Scotland and on St Andrew's Day in 1996, it was placed at Edinburgh Castle where it remains to this day.
Queen Mary's Dolls House gets a Christmas additionQueen Mary's dolls house was designed and built between 1921 and 1924. As gift from the nation to Queen Mary, the doll house is now on display at Windsor Castle. Built on a scale of 1 inch to 1 foot, everything in the house works (even the plumbing) and items were made by the leading companies of the day. The library is no exception, filled with tiny books written by 170 eminent authors including, Thomas Hardy, Rudyard Kipling and Arthur Conan Doyle. In 1924 a 5cm high edition of Charles Dickens's 'A Christmas Carol' was given to the library.
A Royal Christmas CardThe first Christmas cards were sent in 1923 after the introduction of the penny post. This card dates from 1929 and shows The Duke and Duchess of York (the future King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother) and their three-year-old daughter, Princess Elizabeth of York (now The Queen).
1932 25th December
Pantomime's at Windsor CastleDuring World War II, Princess Elizabeth and Princess Margaret, while living at The Royal Lodge, hosted pantomimes at Windsor Castle. The traditional festive performances included local children, evacuees, friends and service personnel based in the Windsor area and raised money for the Wool Fund, which which bought wool to be made into military clothing. This costume was worn by Princess Elizabeth in the 1943 performance of 'Aladdin' which was staged in the Waterloo Chamber of Windsor Castle.
1957 25th December
The Queen's Christmas Broadcast is televised for the first timeAfter the death of George VI in February 1952, The Queen broadcast her first Christmas message. She spoke of carrying on the tradition passed on to her by her father and even addressed the nation at the same desk and chair used by her father and his father before him. But five years later, the first televised message was broadcast live.
2015 25th December
The Queen's Speech 2015The advent of television during The Queen's reign has given an added dimension to her broadcasts, allowing viewers to see The Queen in her own residences, decorated for Christmas like many homes across the world. The location is usually Buckingham Palace, but recordings have also been made at Windsor and Sandringham. In 2003 the message was filmed at Combermere Barracks in Windsor - the first time the address had been shot entirely on location. Footage from the year's Royal events is often shown, enabling the public to see the highlights of the Royal year. In 2015, Her Majesty reflects on the year’s events, and encourages us to be grateful ‘for all that brings light to our lives.'
The Not Forgotten Christmas PartyThe Princess Royal attended the annual Not Forgotten Christmas Party at St James's Palace. The tradition dates back to 1921. The Not Forgotten Association is a tri-service charity that provides entertainment, leisure and recreation for the serving wounded, injured or sick and ex-service men and women with disabilities.