If Christmas with the British royal family sounds like a stuffy affair, you might be surprised to find out it’s less formal than you’d think! Tidbits have come out here and there about their private family time, from Queen Elizabeth’s favorite movie (Flash Gordon!) to the surprising gift Meghan Markle gave Prince William during her first Christmas with the family (a spoon that said “cereal killer”). And now that a new generation of little ones have joined the mix, Prince William says things are a bit rowdier than in days gone by.
The prince has had to get used to a different Christmas experience ever since he welcomed his kids — 8-year-old George, 6-year-old Charlotte, and 3-year-old Louis — with Kate Middleton. “Christmas is a new dynamic now that we have children,” he said in a recent radio interview. “Suddenly it’s a whole different ballgame of noise and excitement. So now I’m enjoying the new version of Christmas in my life.”
That new version includes lots of board games and more age-appropriate Christmas movies, though the family’s choice might be a bit surprising. The prince said the family likes to settle down after a game of Monopoly with a screening of the hit comedy movie Elf! The Will Ferrell movie is a recent classic, featuring the comedian playing a human who was raised as an elf in the North Pole. All sorts of hilarious antics ensure when he finds his real dad in New York City (and falls in love with a blonde Zooey Deschanel!).
Regardless of the entertainment, William said his favorite part of Christmas is getting the whole family together after a busy year of royal engagements. “I think generally for me, bringing the family together at Christmas time, it’s always lovely because we’re quite spread out to doing our things a lot of time throughout the year,” he said. “And so we get very few moments actually coming together. And when I see my children meet up with some of my cousins’ children and they will have a wonderful time playing together, it’s very special.”
The prince might not get his wish this year, however, since his grandmother Queen Elizabeth was forced to cancel the annual family Christmas lunch due to concerns about the new Covid-19 variant. The 95-year-old monarch also cancelled the family’s annual trip to her Sandringham Estate, where they typically gather to enjoy private family time. This is the second year in a row the trip has been ruled out due to the coronavirus.
It’s especially sad that the family won’t get to gather around the Queen in her first Christmas since the passing of Prince Philip. The royals were married for 73 years before his death in April.
However they end up celebrating the holiday, we hope the royal family have a very merry Christmas!
This article originally appeared on our sister site, First for Women.