The Heartbreaking Reason That Queen Elizabeth II Kept Her Christmas Tree Up Until February

While it might feel sad to take your Christmas decorations down, most of us do it by the end of the first week of January. But in one corner of the United Kingdom, there was a home where the Christmas tree stayed up for a whole extra month. And that was none other than the Queen’s cozy Sandringham Estate. Her reason for keeping the tinsel up wasn’t out of an excess of festive cheer, though. Instead, it commemorated a tragedy that had struck the monarch in her youth. And with the Queen’s sad passing in 2022, we can only wonder if King Charles will keep the tradition alive.

A royal Christmas

The Queen liked to spend Christmas and the New Year holiday with her family at Sandringham in the east of England. In fact, she stayed there until February, only then going back to Buckingham Palace. This was her tradition for many years — going back to the 1980s — and the Queen, as you might expect, loved tradition.

The end of the festivities

Elizabeth wasn’t one to shy away from hanging up decorations or putting up a grand tree to celebrate the season. Tradition dictates that it’s bad luck to keep decorations up past Twelfth Night, though — that being the date on which the three wise men visited Jesus in the story. Christmas Day marks the first day of Christmas, so most people would take their decorations down on January 6. Royal tradition meant that no such thing happened at Sandringham, however.

A Christmas Day church service

The royal family had plenty of other traditions on Christmas Day, though. Not least of these was the family visit to St. Mary Magdalene church, which lies near the royal estate. Now, this visit was customary for royals — and even Queen Victoria enjoyed her Christmas service there all the way back in the 19th century.

A family occasion

Back in 2019, the family had some new additions to the Sandringham protocol. Prince George and Princess Charlotte — Prince William’s children — enjoyed a Christmas walk with the family. But Prince Louis didn’t join them in church. Perhaps it was considered too much for an infant who was then barely a year old. Meanwhile, Harry and Meghan chose to stay in Canada that year, not long before announcing that they would be stepping away from their positions as working royals.