Despite some pretty big changes that have taken place within the last year, one decades-long royal family Christmas tradition will continue. As members of the British royal family gather at Sandringham, the Queen's Norfolk estate, for the holidays this year, they will have to step on a scale and be weighed by Queen Elizabeth herself — but the uncomfortable weighing is all in good fun.
The pre- and post-Christmas dinner weighing dates back to the early 1900s when it was originated during King Edward VII's reign. To ensure that members of the royal family are enjoying themselves and being "well fed," Her Majesty asks each of her guests to "weigh themselves" when they arrive using a set of antique scales, royal expert Ingrid Seward Ingrid revealed to Grazia in 2018. After enjoying a turkey feast during a "candlelit dinner in the dining room" in the evening, the royal guests are then weighed a second time to ensure they're being "well fed." According to The Sun, the tradition will continue this year.
This year's Christmas celebrations will mark the first for the royal family without their patriarch, Prince Philip. Philip passed away "peacefully" at Windsor Castle in April, just months after Prince Harry and wife Meghan Markle officially retired as working royals, as the longest-serving consort to a British sovereign. He was 99. He was laid to rest in a scaled-back royal funeral held at St. George's Chapel just a week later, with members of the royal family entering a period of mourning at the time. They have since resumed their normal duties.
The celebrations will also come amid health concerns surrounding the Queen. Her Majesty recently stayed overnight at King Edward VII's Hospital in London for "preliminary investigations." The Queen was said to be in "good spirits" at the time and returned home the following morning. Amid her hospitalization, she canceled two planned engagements — a trip to Northern Ireland and her planned attendance at the COP26 climate conference in Glasgow, Scotland. Following some rest, the Queen has since returned to her normal royal duties. In early November, she received the OK from her doctors to leave Windsor Castle and travel to Sandringham. Located about 100 miles north of London, Sandringham is the spot the royal family gathers during the holidays, with the Queen typically spending most of her time at the location during the season. Other members of the royal family then join her on Christmas Eve before going to St. Mary Magdalene Church.