Admittedly Christmas will be different for everyone this year due to the coronavirus pandemic and that includes the royal family.

Used to spending their festive season getting dressed up hosting grand soirées and family events - with the new rule of three and celebrations only allowed on Christmas Day, it is looking particularly different for us all including the Royals. 

What are the rules for Christmas? 

On Christmas day three households in a "Christmas bubble" can mix indoors but cannot stay over night, in England.

Bubbles can meet each other:

  • In each other's homes
  • At a place of worship
  • In an outdoor public space or garden

Those in tier 4 must not travel and can only mix with their household on Christmas day. 

People are being warned to think twice about travelling outside of their areas.

Additionally people are being told not to travel between tiers. 

How is Christmas changing for the royals?

With a tradition for nearly everything including Christmas this year brings a few firsts for the current monarchy who are unable to go ahead with their usual busy schedule of events. 

  • They won't be going to Sandringham

The Windsors have been spending Christmas at Sandringham House, 100 miles north of London, since 1988.

The Queen and Prince Philip typically mark the start of Christmas by travelling aboard the Royal Train to King's Lynn Station in Norfolk. 

Buckingham Palace have confirmed that the Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh will be spending Christmas at Windsor Castle.

Ledbury Reporter:

The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh are to spend Christmas at Windsor Castle (Steve Parsons/PA)

In the 1960s, when the monarch’s youngest children were small and in the years that followed, many Christmases were celebrated at Windsor Castle.

In a statement Buckingham Palace said:

"The Queen and the duke are fortunate to spend Christmas with their family every year. They understand that their family will have competing demands over the Christmas period and are content to have a quiet festive season this year."

It was believed that some of the Windsor clan would be stopping by to spend some quality time with the heads of the family, socially distanced of course - but with Windsor in tier 4 this is now unlikely.

  • Where will Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall be spending the big day?

Usually gathering at Sandringham for the holidays, Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall will instead be celebrating at Highgrove House, near Tetbury, in Gloucester. 

The manicured country house has been Charles's family home since 1980. 

  • Where will Prince William and Prince Harry be?

Ledbury Reporter:

The Prince of Wales, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and the Duke and Duchess of Sussex arriving for morning church in 2018 (Joe Giddens/PA)​

It is well-known that the brothers are partial to a game of Christmas eve football, however this year is looking particularly different.

Sticking with their German heritage the family usually open their presents on Christmas eve after afternoon tea, instead of on Christmas day - it is likely this will still be the case in their separate homes. Who knows, they could do a family Zoom call? 

Prince Harry and the Duchess of Sussex will be hosting holiday festivities in their new Californian home. 

Whilst Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge are still yet to confirm where they will be spending the big day.

On a visit to Wales last week, Prince William admitted they were "still trying to make plans". 

It is highly likely the family will be spending the big day on their estate of Anmer Hall in Norfolk. 

  • Will the queen still be making her Christmas Day speech?

The Queen will stick with tradition on this one and is carrying on with her Christmas day speech this year. 

Ledbury Reporter:

The Queen’s Christmas broadcast in 2018 (John Stillwell/PA)

You can watch it on BBC One or ITV, Sky One or Sky News at 3pm on December 25, 2020.

It's also broadcast on BBC Radio Four.

  • They have still sent out their Christmas cards

Every year the Queen and Prince Philip send around 750 Christmas cards, which usually feature a family photo.

The cards are signed 'Elizabeth R' and 'Philip' and feature their official cyphers.

Family, friends, and Members of The Royal Household are likely to be the recipients of The Royal Christmas Card, but British and Commonwealth Prime Ministers, Governor-General and High Commissions may also be sent one.

The Duke of Edinburgh sends out a further 200 cards to different regiments and organisations close to him. 

  • The Royal Household still receive presents

All members of The Royal Household at Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle receive Christmas presents from The Queen, and Her Majesty normally hands these out personally - however, this may have changed due to the coronavirus. 

Continuing the tradition from her father, King George VI and her grandfather, George V – The Queen also gives Christmas puddings to her staff. 

About 1500 Christmas puddings paid for by The Queen (through the Privy Purse) are distributed to staff throughout the Palaces, staff in the Court Post Office and Palace police. Each pudding is accompanied by a greeting card from The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh.

What other royal Christmas traditions are there?

The royal family often hosts a range of black-tie events in the lead up to Christmas Day as they serve as patrons of many charities. 

Each year they support their respective causes by throwing Christmas parties, however this year they have been unable to do that due to Covid-19 restrictions. 

Although they may not be able to host black-tie events, the royal family work tirelessly supporting a range of causes close to their hearts and have continued to do so this year. 

Ledbury Reporter:

A Christmas tree in Windsor Castle (Steve Parsons/PA)

Each year the Queen donates money to several in Windsor each Christmas.

The Queen gives Christmas trees each year to Westminster Abbey, St. Paul's Cathedral, St. Giles' Cathedral and the Canongate Kirk in Edinburgh. Churches and schools in the Sandringham area will also receive a tree from Her Majesty.

How has your Christmas changed this year? Let us know in the comments.