We all have our Christmas traditions, but what about the royal family?

A new documentary, Inside Sandringham: Holidaying with the Queen has cleared the mystery around the royals' Christmas traditions.

There's several customs observed in the lead-up to Christmas, The Sun reports - including a strict order in which the royals arrive at the Sandringham estate in Norfolk every year.

READ MORE:
Why Harry and Meghan won't spend Christmas with the Queen
Royal escape: Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall's welcome Kiwi break
Princess Diana's first Royal Christmas faux pas
Why Meghan and Harry won't spend Christmas with William and Kate

Advertisement

The younger ones are first to arrive, followed by higher-ranking family members such as Prince Charles and Camilla, and finally the Queen herself.

But before the Queen takes her first-class seat on a train to Norfolk, she has to sign off on Christmas preparations at all the royal residences.

Royal commentator Dickie Arbiter reveals that the queen's trees would look very familiar to us.

The Queen is the last to arrive at the family estate in Sandringham for the celebrations. Photo / Getty
The Queen is the last to arrive at the family estate in Sandringham for the celebrations. Photo / Getty

"It is decorated in much the same way as people throughout the United Kingdom decorate their tree.

"You've got the baubles, the tinsel, the coloured lights."

Decorating the 20ft tall spruce tree is a royal ritual. The tree at Sandringham is traditionally topped off by Prince Philip himself, who crowns it with a gold star.

Royal expert Claudia Joseph said Philip would probably continue to put the star on top of the tree every year for the rest of his life.

"He's quite a stalwart and won't let other people take control.

Advertisement

"When any young children come they put their own decorations on."

The 98-year-old Duke also signs every Christmas card sent off by the Queen, says Arbiter.

"There's no stenciling or faxing or anything like that, and the card count runs into hundreds.

"All the staff get a card, then friends get a card.

"There are people you've got to send cards to and people you want to send cards to, but every card is signed by both of them."

The royal family are traditionally photographed attending a Christmas Day service. Photo / Getty
The royal family are traditionally photographed attending a Christmas Day service. Photo / Getty

On Christmas morning the royal family help themselves to a breakfast buffet, a tradition known as "mucking in" - though the Queen is still served by staff.

Then they all head off to the Christmas church service, where they are traditionally photographed.

The Queen makes sure to celebrate her staff and all their hard work before the royal family tucks into their Christmas dinner, as former royal chef Darren McGrady reveals that she raises a toast.

"At the end of carving the turkey, the palace steward brings the chef a glass of whiskey, and Her Majesty raises a toast to the head chef."

Royal expert Ingrid Seward says strong drinks are always on the royal menu, with a martini the Queen's drink of choice.

"Other people would rather have champagne. Prince Philip isn't a great drinker, he always used to drink pale ale.

"So they're not great drinkers. But the drinks are very strong. So anyone that's a guest would be knocked out by these drinks."

The royal family then tucks in to a sumptuous spread, with French menus and countless courses served until 10pm.