For the first time in three years, the Royal Family attended Christmas service in Sandringham together. But all is not peaceful behind the scenes.
LONDON – With scandal Prince Andrew but without the estranged Prince Harry, the royal family has celebrated the first Christmas without the Queen. With King Charles III. at the helm, the royals returned to the traditional service near their Sandringham residence in eastern England for the first time since the pandemic on Boxing Day.
Prince Louis (4), the youngest son of heir to the throne Prince William and Princess Kate, wore shorts when the temperatures were quite mild. Numerous onlookers waited hours to catch a glimpse of the royals.
Commemorating Queen Elizabeth II
For the royals, Christmas was all about Queen Elizabeth II. Charles’ mother died on September 8 after 70 years on the throne. Princess Kate dedicated to the Queen a carol singing she organized at London’s Westminster Abbey, which was televised on Christmas Eve. She paid tribute to the Queen’s “incredible legacy” which “has deeply inspired many of us”. Kate and William’s children Prince George, 9, and Princess Charlotte, 7, sang along loudly.
Charles and his wife Queen Camilla were among the 1,800 guests at the event. Kate and daughter Charlotte also wore burgundy coats, as did Queen’s granddaughter Zara Tindall. Heir apparent William read an excerpt from the Queen’s 2012 Christmas message.
The British media emphasized above all the demonstrative joint appearance of the royals. In doing so, they would have set a sign of unity against the allegations made by William’s younger brother Harry and his wife Duchess Meghan in the Netflix series “Harry and Meghan”. The second part of the series was posted on December 15th, the day of Kate’s Christmas carols.
The fronts between Harry and Meghan, who live in California with their children Archie and Lilibet, and the family in England are considered hardened. The couple have repeatedly accused the palace of lack of support and even racism. In his first speech as king, Charles had declared his love for the two. But with the Netflix series and the release of Harry’s autobiography planned for January 10, the alienation has increased, it said in London. Harry declined an invitation to celebrate Christmas together in England.
Charles III’s First Christmas Address
Among those attending the service in Sandringham were both Charles’ brothers, including Prince Andrew, who was involved in a sexual abuse scandal. He appeared with his daughters, Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie, and their husbands. As the newspaper “Sun” recently reported, Andrew is in an increasingly difficult position in the royal family. Charles threw the 62-year-old out of Buckingham Palace, the newspaper wrote. Andrew is no longer allowed to use an office there and is no longer allowed to use the city palace as a correspondence address. “All presence at the palace has officially ended,” the newspaper quoted a source as saying.
In his first Christmas speech as British King, Charles III. condolences to all families in need. The monarch said in the televised speech on Sunday afternoon there was a “time of great anxiety and need”. This applies to everyone worldwide who is exposed to conflict, famine or natural disasters, as well as those “who find ways to pay their bills and feed their families and keep them warm”. Millions of people in the UK are struggling with increased food prices and energy costs.
It was the first time a king gave the televised Christmas speech. In 1957, Charles’ mother Queen Elizabeth II was the first monarch to address the population on television at Christmas. The Queen’s speech was broadcast live at the time, but it has long since been recorded. Charles’ speech was recorded at St George’s Chapel in Windsor on December 13th. Buried beneath the church in the grounds of Windsor Castle is the Queen, who died on September 8 after 70 years on the throne.
In the speech, Charles found personal words for his “beloved” mother. The holidays are a “moving time” for bereaved families, the king said. “We sense her absence at every familiar season and remember her at every cherished tradition.” He shared with the late Queen’s belief in people who could touch the lives of others with kindness and compassion. This is “the essence of our community and the foundation of our society,” said the 74-year-old. dpa