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How the Royal family really spends Christmas Day

The Queen and her family usually visit church on Christmas Day Picture: Antony Kelly

The Queen and her family usually visit church on Christmas Day Picture: Antony Kelly

Archant Norfolk 2014

Ever wondered how the Queen and her family spend Christmas Day? Here's what we know.

Crowds queue at Sandringham to see the Royal family Picture: Ian BurtCrowds queue at Sandringham to see the Royal family Picture: Ian Burt

Is it true they get to open their presents early? Yes, being Royal does have one advantage. In a nod to the family's German ancestry, they get to see what Santa's brought them on Christmas Eve.

Christmas Day at Sandringham has a party atmosphere. Pictured are (L) Sharon Webb and her mum Yvonne Webb. Picture: Ian BurtChristmas Day at Sandringham has a party atmosphere. Pictured are (L) Sharon Webb and her mum Yvonne Webb. Picture: Ian Burt

I bet they spend a packet on pressies... They don't. In fact family members compete to see who can buy the cheapest, tackiest gift in a bizarre secret Santa. Think tea towels, shower caps and leather loo seats.

What about festive fayre? Christmas Day begins with a breakfast of fruit and toast for the ladies in their rooms. The Queen's tray is served at 9am sharp. Male members of the family fortify themselves with bacon, eggs and kippers in the dining room.

The Duke and The Duchess of Cambridge with Prince Harry walking to Christmas Day morning service at Sandringham. Picture: Ian BurtThe Duke and The Duchess of Cambridge with Prince Harry walking to Christmas Day morning service at Sandringham. Picture: Ian Burt

Church calls... Shortly before 11am, family members set off for morning service at the tiny Church of St Mary Magdalen. Most will walk the half mile or so from the house. The Queen is driven in her Limousine, which pulls up precisely as the foot party arrives.

The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cambridge walking to Christmas Day morning service at Sandringham. Picture: Ian BurtThe Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cambridge walking to Christmas Day morning service at Sandringham. Picture: Ian Burt

Yearly tradition... Thousands of well-wishers line the park in what has become a Norfolk tradition. Royal fans queue from the early hours to secure a good vantage point. A large gathering of press will also be present for what is one of the few occasions when the entire Royal Family is seen together in the same place.

Who's to see..? Prince Harry and the Duchess of Sussex are swerving Sandringham and spending Christmas in the US. Prince Andrew is also not expected to attend. Some Royal commentators reckon Prince George and Princess Charlotte may join mum and dad the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge this year.

The Duke of Edinburgh and Princess Anne walking to Christmas Day morning service at Sandringham. Picture: Ian BurtThe Duke of Edinburgh and Princess Anne walking to Christmas Day morning service at Sandringham. Picture: Ian Burt

To home... After the 45-minute service, which is broadcast to the crowds via a PA system, the Royals depart. There will be more pleasantries with those lining the path on the walk back to the house.

Royals at Sandringham church service on Christmas Day 2014.
Picture: ANTONY KELLYRoyals at Sandringham church service on Christmas Day 2014. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Gin O'Clock... On arrival, it is time for pre-lunch drinks. The Queen will sip a gin and Dubonnet, while other family members will enjoy a glass of their favourite tipple.

Dinner is served... Lunch consisting of a Norfolk turkey with all the trimmings is served at 1pm sharp. The Queen's head chef carves the bird at table. At 2pm sharp, the Christmas pudding arrives with a generous cheese course.

Royals at Sandringham church service on Christmas Day 2014.
Picture: ANTONY KELLYRoyals at Sandringham church service on Christmas Day 2014. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Queen's speech... During the afternoon, the family gather to watch the Queen's speech - a tradition which began in Norfolk when the Queen's grand-father King George V took to the airwaves in 1932.

Royals at Sandringham church service on Christmas Day 2014.
Picture: ANTONY KELLYRoyals at Sandringham church service on Christmas Day 2014. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Time for tea... At 4pm there is festive tea with Christmas cake, mince pies and sandwiches. A buffet supper is served at 8pm.

Party time... Afterwards the 100 or so staff - most of whom will have travelled up from London for Christmas - can officially knock off and enjoy their own celebration.

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