Buckingham Palace announced the family’s plans in a press release on Monday, December 19, per royal correspondent Omid Scobie. “Their Majesties The King and The Queen Consort accompanied by Members of the Royal Family will attend the Morning Service on Christmas Day at Sandringham Church on Sunday 25th December 2022,” the announcement read.
The British royals have traditionally spent the holidays at Queen Elizabeth II‘s Sandringham House in Norfolk, England, often visiting a country church to worship on Christmas Day. This year marks the family’s first Christmas season without the queen, who died at age 96 in September.
“It will be extremely sad not to have the queen there,” a source exclusively told Us Weekly earlier this month, adding that the festivities will feel “bittersweet” in Her Majesty’s absence. “[She] would not want them to mope or let that detract everyone from coming together and enjoying the occasion.”
Charles, 74, immediately assumed his rightful place on the throne after his mother’s death. He is set to deliver the annual Christmas address to the Commonwealth this year and will “undoubtedly pay tribute to the queen in his speech and privately within the family,” the insider told Us.
As the royal relatives gather together, Elizabeth will surely remain on their minds and hearts. “They’ll share fond memories, raise glasses and likely make speeches about the wonderful life and legacy she’s left behind,” the source added. “There’s a shared commitment among the whole family to stay true to her values and carry on with the wonderful work she did during her time as monarch.”
While honoring old family traditions, Charles is “equally determined” to freshen up the holiday season with a few “more modern” ideas. According to the insider, Prince William and Princess Kate “are extremely key” in the king’s vision for the monarchy’s future.
The Prince and Princess of Wales, both 40, were joined by Charles and Camilla on Thursday, December 15, for Kate’s second annual holiday concert at Westminster Abbey, which will be broadcast on ITV Christmas Eve. Prince George, 9, and Princess Charlotte, 7, matched their parents in festive maroon attire, while little brother Prince Louis, 4, appeared to stay home.
The showing of family unity in London came as Prince Harry and Meghan Markle discussed their 2020 departure from their senior duties in Netflix’s Harry & Meghan. The six-part docuseries concluded on Thursday and shed new light on the couple’s decision to leave their royal roles.
During the final episode, Harry, 38, shared an update on where he stands with his father and brother, admitting that it was “really hard” to return to the U.K. in April 2021 for Prince Philip’s funeral. “I’ve had to make peace with the fact that we’re probably never gonna get genuine accountability or a genuine apology,” the Spare author told the cameras. “My wife and I, we’re moving on. We’re focused on what’s coming next.”
The former military pilot and the Suits alum, 41, moved to California in mid-2020 after announcing their step back earlier that year. In February 2021, the palace confirmed that the Archewell cofounders — who share Archie, 3, and Lilibet, 18 months — would not return as senior working royals.
“I miss the weird family gatherings when we’re all sort of brought together under one roof for, you know, certain times of the year — that I miss,” Harry confessed in episode 6. “Being part of the institution meant that I was in the U.K. So, I miss the U.K. [and] I miss my friends. I’ve lost a few friends in this process as well.”