King Charles hosted the royal pre-Christmas lunch in Windsor: who was a no-show?

On Wednesday, King Charles hosted the royal family’s annual pre-Christmas lunch. I don’t know when the tradition started, but QEII perfected it by inviting the extended family to enjoy a sumptuous pre-holiday lunch at Buckingham Palace. The idea being that the “minor royals” and royal-adjacents might not get invitations to the big Christmas celebration at Sandringham, but they still get some family time before Christmas. Charles changed the location of the lunch – for the second year in a row, he’s hosted the lunch at Windsor Castle. I imagine there’s more space and probably a bigger banquet hall? Even with fewer cameras around, the Mail still got the guest list, which included Prince Andrew. Weirdly, William and Kate were no-shows. William was only in Kuwait for two days, I think. He would have been back in England for this, but he still didn’t show up.

Zara Tindall and Princess Eugenie were among the royals pictured leaving Windsor Castle after enjoying a Christmas lunch held by King Charles III today – with Prince Andrew, who may soon face fresh scrutiny over his ties to paedophile financier Jeffrey Epstein, also seen being driven away. As the evening wrapped up, members of the family – which included Princess Anne’s son Peter Phillips, the Prince and Princess Michael of Kent and Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi – were snapped departing from the festive gathering.

A number of other extended relatives joined Charles and Camilla for the traditional meal today. The Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh, along with Princess Anne, led arrivals earlier today. Prince Edward, 59, was pictured at the wheel, joining his wife Sophie, 58, and their daughter Lady Louise Windsor, 20.

They were closely followed by the Princess Royal, 73, sporting a chic emerald green ensemble as she was driven by her husband Tim Laurence, 68. Their daughter Zara Tindall and her husband Mike were also snapped at today’s event.

Lord Frederick Windsor – who is the son of the Prince and Princess Michael of Kent – was also seen, with his wife Sophie and their children. Elsewhere, Lady Helen Taylor also attended with her husband and kids. Princess Eugenie and her husband Jack Brooksbank could also be seen driving away after enjoying the festive lunch.

The King and Queen treated dozens of relatives to a sit-down meal – which has typically taken place annually on the Wednesday before Christmas, shortly before the monarch leaves for Sandringham for the holiday season. The tradition is one of the rare times when all the monarch’s extended family meet, and is a chance for Charles to celebrate with those who do not receive an invitation to spend Christmas in Norfolk with the senior royals.

The family are seated at round tables, enjoy a Sandringham-bred turkey lunch and pull crackers.

[From The Daily Mail]

Again, the pre-Christmas lunch was something Charles ALWAYS attended as Prince of Wales. It speaks volumes to me that William and Kate didn’t bother. In fact, I bet they’re already in Norfolk. I’ve long held the theory that within the family, William and Kate really aren’t that popular. As for the rest of the motley crew, it also says something that Andrew is still welcome at all of these events. Not only did he mooch another free meal this week, you know he’s also got an invitation to stay in Sandringham for Christmas as well. I wonder if he’ll stay there through New Year’s, which is why Jeffrey Epstein’s client list will be revealed. Also: Sophie and Edward took pains to arrive and depart together, after mostly doing separate events for months. Hm.

What else? The Mail’s Ephraim Hardcastle column claims that Charles wrote his Christmas speech by himself, without advisors or scriptwriters. Eh, he’s probably one of the better royal writers, although the bar is set pretty low.

Photos courtesy of Avalon Red.

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