Queen Victoria’s Christmas at Windsor Castle

Merry, Merry Christmas! In honour of the occasion, let’s take a look inside the Christmas holiday that Queen Victoria and Prince Albert spent together at Windsor Castle in 1860.

The Royal Family spent many christmases at Windsor and we have an account of that 1860 holiday thanks to Viscount Torrington, a lord in waiting, who wrote to the editor of The Times with his memories of the celebrations. He wrote,

“The Queen’s private sitting-rooms, three in number were lighted up with Christmas trees hung from the ceiling, the chandeliers being taken down. These trees, of immense size, beside others on th tables, were covered with bonbons and coloured wax lights. Some of the trees were made to appear as if partially covered with snow…”

Sounds delightful, doesn’t it? We’d love to see what Christmas trees suspended from the ceiling looked like – maybe he just means there were held up with cords attached to the ceiling?? In any event the bonbons and coloured wax lights sound just perfect. Wonder what they used to make the trees appear to be partially covered with snow. Icing sugar?

There’s more!

“Even as in a public bazaar, where people jostle one another, so lords, grooms, Queen and princes laighted and talked, forgot to bow, and freely turned their backs on one another. Little princesses, who on ordinary occasions dare hardly look at a gentleman in waiting, in the happiest manner showed each person they could lay hands on the treasures they had received.” 

Can you imagine forgetting to bow and such? Tsk, tsk.

A visitor to the royal kitchens during the Christmas holiday of 1860 described seeing the following:

  • 50 turkeys
  • A baron of beef weighing 350lb
  • Sole
  • Pheasant
  • Woodcock
  • Goose
  • Duck
  • Plum pudding
  • Cabinet Pudding
  • Lemon jellies
  • Apple tarts
  • Mince pies

So, the Royals knew how to do it up and certainly didn’t go hungry! Notably, each member of the household was given a turkey dinner as well as pies to take home.

Here’s a more modern look at Windsor in the snow.

We hope you have a very Merry Christmas.

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