Christmas service of the royals – according to the audience, the atmosphere is different

After Christmas service
Viewers report: The Royals were “not rude, but very curt”

Duchess Kate

Kate, the Princess of Wales smiles at the crowd after attending Christmas service at St Mary Magdalene Church in Sandringham.

© Kirsty Wigglesworth/AP/dpa

Due to the pandemic, the British royals did not appear in St. Mary Magdalene Church for the Christmas service for three years. A lot has changed since then – the waiting spectators also report that.

In 2019, the British royals attended the traditional Christmas service on the Sandringham Estate in Norfolk for the last time. During the corona pandemic, the Queen preferred to stay at Windsor Castle and the service was cancelled. This year, the royal family resumed their tradition. But things had changed in the meantime.

For the first time, the family was no longer led by Queen Elizabeth II, who died that autumn, but by her new King, Charles III. Little Prince Louis, the third child of Prince William and Duchess Kate, also celebrated a premiere and attended the Christmas service for the first time.

Christmas service in Sandringham: fans have been waiting since the early hours of the morning

Some of the spectators arrived early in the morning to secure a seat in the front row. After the service there was a tour of the royals. They talked to the waiting fans, the children accepted stuffed animal gifts and the adults received flowers, pictures and letters. But the British news portal BBC reports that the fans also felt changes in the atmosphere compared to previous years.

One of those waiting was 44-year-old Karen Anvil, who reports a “different mood” during the walkabout. “I don’t know if she [die königliche Familie in der Kirche] worried about the walkabout but the crowd behaved and there were no boos,” said Anvil, noting an increased security and police presence. Some viewers, like Anvil, are said to have been disappointed that Princess Anne was missing. This is said to have missed the Christmas service because of a cold.

“While it was beautiful, it was very, very different from previous years,” said Anvil, who was attending for the fourth time with daughter Rachel, 22. “The crowd wasn’t that big. It was crowded, but it wasn’t as crowded as usual and it was quieter. When they come out, they usually take their time with the crowd. They also stopped at the people waiting, but it was extreme fleetingly – they weren’t rude, but very curt.”

Viewer India wanted to see a real princess

Also among the people who left in the early hours of the morning was Watton’s Zoe Harrowing and her eight-year-old daughter India, who was dying to see a princess in real life. The kindergarten teacher did not notice any change in mood, so this visit was also an absolute highlight for her daughter: “She loved it. She said it was better than opening her Christmas presents and she said she had met a real princess.”

One of the viewers was Peter Gray. He has lived with his wife on the Sandringham Estate since 2007. He reports that about 700 people are said to have been on site. Usually there were probably around 1,000 people in previous years who have to undergo security checks before being allowed to gather in front of the church.

Gray explained the lower attendance: “Whether it’s because people haven’t warmed to the new king yet, I don’t know, although Charles made the effort to go up to the church while the late Queen drove up to the church arrived on the other side”. Of the change in sentiment, he said: “You just don’t know what Netflix and Meghan are doing – what’s on people’s minds – the royals have had a lot of negative publicity lately.”

Source: BBC