The King is to spend Christmas Day at Sandringham this year, marking a return to the traditional royal family Christmas on the Norfolk estate.
The monarch and the Queen Consort are expected to be joined by their wider family as they mark their poignant first Christmas since the death of the late Queen and Charles’s accession to the throne.
Buckingham Palace confirmed the King had this year decided to travel to Sandringham House, where Queen Elizabeth II hosted her family over the festive period throughout the decades.
It follows a two-year break, when, due to the Covid pandemic, the late Queen spent Christmas at Windsor Castle two years in a row – the first with the Duke of Edinburgh, separated from her wider family in lockdown.
Royal Christmases usually feature a morning trip to St Mary Magdalene Church, the greeting of well-wishers, and a family lunch with turkey and all the trimmings.
The Prince and Princess of Wales and their children Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis are often among the gathered guests.
Charles is also preparing to pre-record his historic, first ever Christmas Broadcast as monarch, when he will no doubt reflect on the loss of his mother and her legacy.
Traditionally, members of the royal family sit down to watch the televised address when it airs after lunch, usually at 3pm on December 25.
Meanwhile, Windsor Castle has been transformed ready for Christmas, with a 20ft tree in St George’s Hall decorated in 3,000 lights and hundreds of regal purple ribbons.
It took a team of four staff from the Royal Collection Trust two days to dress the Berkshire royal residence’s festive trees.
Tourists visiting the State Apartments will see shimmering trees, twinkling lights and festive garlands.
A handmade angel sits on top of St George’s Hall’s towering Nordmann fir, which was sourced from nearby Windsor Great Park.
The Christmas colour scheme at the castle was chosen by Royal Collection Trust curators together with the exhibitions team, and this year, the central tree features purple velvet and satin ribbons and scores of jewel-shaped ornaments.
The garlands on the Grand Staircase include red velvet swags and hand-gilded leaves and fruits inspired by the Grinling Gibbons carvings that can be seen around the apartments.
Further trees are also in the Crimson Drawing Room, the Inner Hall, the Queen’s Gallery, the Undercroft Cafe and the Admissions Centre.
For the first time in more than a decade, a festive table display adorns the grand Waterloo Chamber.
Another team of three people put this in place.
Sandringham House has been the private home of four generations of British monarchs for more than 160 years, and now belongs to the King.
The late Queen celebrated the eve of her Platinum Jubilee there just seven months before her death.
It was bought in 1862 by the then Prince of Wales, who later became Edward VII, as a private country retreat.
The house was rebuilt in 1870 to ensure it was big enough for his growing family.
George V, the Queen’s grandfather, described the house as “Dear old Sandringham, the place I love better than anywhere else in the world”.
George VI, the Queen’s father, wrote: “I have always been so happy here and I love the place”.
In the aftermath of Queen Elizabeth II’s death, the Prince and Princess of Wales viewed floral tributes left by members of the public at the gates of Sandringham.