With 2018 heralding the union of two newly-married royal couples, the arrival of two Royal babies and the announcement that a third is on the way, Christmas for the Royals was spent indulging in family time and festivities. From breaking a Royal Christmas tradition, to acts of remembrance and honour, we recap what The Royals have been up to over the Christmas and New Year period.
Christmas morning service
As is tradition, the Royal Family attended the annual Sandringham Christmas morning church service. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and the Duke and Duchess of Sussex were all smiles as they left the service on the Queen’s estate in Norfolk. Prince Philip was not in attendance but was said to be in good health, whilst the Duchess of Cornwall was still recovering from a heavy cold which had caused her to miss an appearance at the Olympia Horse Show the week before.
However, not all of the Royal Family’s Christmas traditions were kept. Traditionally the Royal Family open their presents on Christmas Eve, in keeping with the German approach to the festive period. However, speaking to a member of the public outside the church, Kate Middleton revealed that Prince George and Princess Charlotte had woken very early on the morning of Christmas Day to open their presents.
The Prince of Wales arrives at the Christmas morning service in Sandringham with The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and The Duke of Duchess of Sussex.— The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall (@ClarenceHouse) December 25, 2018
The Service was attended by The Queen and other Members of The Royal Family this morning. #Christmas2018 pic.twitter.com/fM6LeBvzBd
The Queen’s Christmas broadcast
In the annual Christmas broadcast, Her Majesty reflected on the achievements of 2018. The Queen paid tribute to the Royal Air Force, celebrating its 100th anniversary, and went on to extend her deepest gratitude to all of the British Armed Forces.
The Queen also reminisced on the many Royal Family milestones of 2018: “It’s been a busy year for my family, with two weddings and two babies – and another child expected soon. It helps to keep a grandmother well occupied. Other celebrations have included the 70th birthday of the Prince of Wales. Faith, family and friendship have not only been a constant for me but a source of personal comfort and reassurance.”
New Year’s Honours
As the year came to a close, more than 1,100 were recognised by The Royal Family in the New Year’s Honours list. Amongst those included were British icons such as Michael Palin, model Twiggy and the England football team manager Gareth Southgate. Honours and bravery medals were presented for seven members of the team of British divers who rescued 12 young footballers from a cave in Thailand in July. The list also included 43 people who were recognised for their response to the terror attacks in Manchester and London in 2017.
A time of remembrance
Prince Charles attended a Centenary Service on the Isle of Lewis to commemorate the loss of HMY Iolaire. Known as the Lord of the Isles when visiting the Western Isles of Scotland, Prince Charles paid tribute to the Admiralty yacht which sank on the approach to Stornoway Harbour on 1 January 1919, while returning surviving soldiers home from the First World War. Only 82 of the 283 passengers on board are said to have survived and The Prince of Wales laid a wreath dedicated to all those who lost their lives. During the incident, John Finlay Macleod swam out to the sinking ship and rescued 40 of the surviving men, and a new sculpture was unveiled to commemorate his efforts.
The Prince Charles, Lord of the Isles (as The Prince of Wales is known when visiting the Western Isles of Scotland), today attended a Centenary Service on the Isle of Lewis to commemorate the loss of HMY Iolaire. pic.twitter.com/uY8QafElg8— The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall (@ClarenceHouse) January 1, 2019
Royal art on tour
Unseen watercolours collected by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert are being unveiled and sent on tour around Britain as a celebration of the 200th anniversary of their births. Victoria described the paintings as her ‘most valuable albums’, depicting iconic moments of The Queen’s reign, her children and the Victorian Royal Family’s favourite places. They offer a rare glimpse into the lives and private passions of the Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, and are considered to be a visual record of their marriage. One of the paintings on show for the first time is a watercolour that Queen Victoria herself painted of her third son, Prince Arthur.