Windsor Castle is ready for Christmas with a 20ft tree

A 20-foot Christmas tree has been installed in Windsor Castle where the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh are spending the festive period together.

The monarch and Philip will have a quiet December 25 having taken the decision to celebrate as a couple, rather than forming a bubble with their royal relatives despite the coronavirus restrictions being temporarily relaxed.

Philip and the Queen
Philip and the Queen are spending Christmas as a couple at Windsor (Andrew Milligan/PA)

It will be the first time in more than 30 years that the Queen and the duke have remained at Windsor in Berkshire for Christmas, rather than heading to Sandringham in Norfolk.

The royal residence, which has been the family home of kings and queens for almost 1,000 years, is already getting in the festive spirit.

A gigantic Norwegian Spruce tree, taken from Windsor Great Park and dressed in 3,000 lights and hundreds of iridescent glass, red and gold mirrored ornaments, has pride of place in the historic St George’s Hall, the castle’s largest room.

Christmas at Windsor Castle
The 20-foot Norwegian Spruce in the Castle’s St George’s Hall (Royal Collection/Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2020/PA)

Queen Charlotte, consort to George III, introduced the first Christmas tree to the castle in the late 18th century, in the form of a yew branch, as was traditional in her native Germany.

Queen Victoria and Prince Albert were later responsible for popularising Christmas trees more widely in Britain.

The Royal Collection Trust shared a video of this year’s tree being selected and felled by the forestry team in the park, part of the Crown Estate, before being transported to the castle along the Long Walk.

Watch as a 20-foot Norwegian Spruce is selected and felled by the Forestry Team in Windsor Great Park, part ofthe Crown Estate, before being transported to #WindsorCastle. pic.twitter.com/oyWiNPNied

— RoyalCollectionTrust (@RCT) December 2, 2020

The State Apartments have been transformed throughout with trees, twinkling lights and garlands.

The Queen and Philip have spent most of lockdown at Windsor.

It is said to be the monarch’s favourite residence when not on her summer holiday at Balmoral and traditional Christmas break at Sandringham.

A Christmas tree in Windsor Castle’s Inner Hall
A Christmas tree in Windsor Castle’s Inner Hall (Royal Collection/Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2020/PA)

Visitors are being welcomed back by the Royal Collection to explore the historic state rooms from December 3.

To mark the bicentenary of George IV’s accession to the throne in 1820, the State Dining Room table will be laid with a spectacular display of his silver-gilt Grand Service.

The service is still used by the Queen and her guests at state banquets.

Christmas at Windsor Castle
A curator puts the finishing touches on the display of the silver-gilt Grand Service in the State Dining Room (Royal Collection/Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2020/PA)

Wartime pantomime pictures commissioned to cover the bare walls in the castle during the Second World War are on display in the Waterloo Chamber.

On Saturdays throughout December, festive storytelling and craft activities will be taking place for families.

Tickets should be pre-booked at  www.rct.uk or on 0303 123 7304.

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