Christmas Cards: the Royal Selection

What are your family Christmas traditions?

The British royals, like all families, have their own. They exchange inexpensive presents on Christmas Eve and go to church on Christmas Day morning. They then sit down to a traditional Christmas turkey dinner before watching the Queen’s speech at 3 p.m.

One of the big royal family traditions that everyone looks forward to, is the release of their personal Christmas cards. The notion of skipping a year is not an option for the royal family, politeness and etiquette decrees that personalised cards must be sent. I’ve chosen several from over the years that plots who’s who and who is in or out of the family.

Duke and Duchess of York Christmas 1929
The royal family enjoying a summer break on the Royal Yacht Britannia was the subject of one Christmas card

Before marriages and their own children, the Queen and Prince Philip’s four children pose for a charming family group.

The Prince and Princess of Wales’ Christmas card of 1982

Charles and Diana share their joy of becoming a family of three with this photo of a newborn Prince William.

Prince William, Queen Elizabeth II, Peter Phillips (rear), Prince Harry (front) Prince Philip, Zara Phillips

Above is the Christmas card sent from the Queen and Prince Philip in 1987 – I’m assuming that it was taken at Balmoral that summer as four out of the six subjects are wearing kilts.

Princess Anne and Captain Mark Phillips with their children Peter and Zara.

The below cards are from 1996, the year that Charles and Diana divorced. Diana’s card is a picture of her two boys, William and Harry and the Duke and Duchess of York’s two children, Beatrice and Eugenie. The card is a light-hearted snap of Charles standing with his sons either side of him, taken during the Balmoral summer holiday earlier that year.


The photo below comes the year after Princess Diana’s death and shows the unity of the family after the loss of William and Harry’s mother the year before. Missing is from the cohort of royal grandchildren (to this date) is Peter Phillips. Tim Laurence is the second husband of Princess Anne, her first husband Mark Phillips had long since been extinguished from family groups.

Tim Laurence, Princess Anne, the Princess Royal, the Duke of York, Princess Eugenie (front) Prince Charles, Queen Elizabeth II (front), Prince Edward, Prince Harry (front), Prince William, Zara Phillips, the Duke of Edinburgh, Princess Beatrice (front).

Prince Edward remained unmarried until the following year and Charles and Camilla were to wait until 2005 for their marriage and for her to feature on a royal Christmas card. Of course, Sarah Ferguson, the mother of the two little princesses, would not have featured on a Christmas card at this date as the Duke and Duchess of York had divorced in 1996 after a four-year separation.

Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Philip, Princess Anne and Prince Charles, 1953

The Queen has now reigned for sixty-six years, here’s the Christmas card sent out the year of her coronation, which of course was taken on 2 June 1953.



All images from Pinterest

9 thoughts on “Christmas Cards: the Royal Selection

  1. I’ll confess a mild infatuation with the Royals. Before Meghan, I was mostly uninterested, although I did spend a bit of time psychoanalyzing Harry. But having an American with middle-class roots join the fray, I’m now seeking out royal news. I would have told you that I’m only interested in William and Harry’s generation, but looking over your post, I’ve learned that my interest has expanded to other modern generations. Nice post.

    Liked by 2 people

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