Royal party: Palace insider reveals rare glimpse into how you can have your own royal Xmas


QUEEN ELIZABETH II is known for throwing extravagant festive bashes for the Royal Family, but an ex-royal butler has now revealed his top tips on how to be a good host this Christmas by offering his insight into hosting a royal worthy function.

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Grant Harrold was a royal butler between 2005 and 2011 and served the family regularly including Prince Charles, William and Harry. The most important rule he set out was to make everyone as comfortable as possible in your home. He told Nine Honey: “So say that someone makes a mistake or get something wrong, you’d never tell them off or say anything, you’ve got to be very relaxed.”

Mr Harrold also stressed the importance of not going “overboard” with decorations, so guests don’t feel like they’re on a “runway at Heathrow”.

Another top tip dropped by the butler is that dietary requirements should always be checked ahead of time – to ensure the host is familiar with any allergies, intolerances and preferences before arrival.

Mr Harrold also advised the dress code needs to be clear to avoid any undesired differences in formality.

He said: “You can be as formal or informal as you wish but make sure your guests know they have to adhere to the dress code.”

The former butler gave his top tips for hosting this Christmas

The former butler gave his top tips for hosting this Christmas (Image: GETTY)

The butler stressed the importance of making sure everyone knows the dresscode

The butler stressed the importance of making sure everyone knows the dresscode (Image: GETTY)

The butler added the main focus remains the table and emphasised the need to get it right.

He said: “The bread plate belongs to the left of the main plate and all drinks (hot or cold) go on the right.”

Other top table tips included wine glass etiquette.

He said to make sure the white wine glass is above the starter knife and the red wine glass is to the left of that with the water glass right of the white wine glass.

Seating arrangements were also said to be important

Seating arrangements were also said to be important (Image: GETTY)

Seating arrangements were also mentioned, pre-empt any potential issues between guests and take that extra effort to sit them with people they will get on with.

This Christmas, the royals will follow a Christmas tradition Queen Victoria and Prince Albert started when it comes to opening presents, royal expert Simon Perry claimed.

He claimed the family will join the Monarch in Sandringham on Christmas Eve and kickstart celebrations with tea and cakes in the afternoon before moving on to opening presents.

Speaking to People TV, Mr Perry said: “Christmas Eve, they’ll have some tea around 4pm and then there’ll be lots of cake – they enjoy chocolate especially.

When hosting make sure to stay relaxed

When hosting make sure to stay relaxed (Image: GETTY)

The royal family will be at Sandringham on Christmas eve

The royal family will be at Sandringham on Christmas eve (Image: GETTY)

“So some chocolate cookies and so on, William has a penchant for chocolate biscuit cake as well.”

The royal commentator continued: “After the tea and the cake and so on, they retire to a room called the red drawing-room where the servants have laid out tables with cloths on them and all the presents are laid out on those tables.

“Unlike most of us, they like to open their presents on Christmas Eve – they go by the German tradition in doing that.”

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The Queen is believed to be continuing a tradition introduced in the mid-1840s by Queen Victoria’s husband Prince Albert, who insisted the family adopt the German tradition of opening presents on December 24.

Royal commentator Robert Jobson claimed the Royal Family has been following the Victorian tradition uninterruptedly since Prince Albert first introduced it.

Speaking to in 2018, Mr Jobson said: “Royals have done it every year since.

The Queen is believed to be continuing the Victorian tradition

The Queen is believed to be continuing the Victorian tradition (Image: GETTY)

“On Christmas Eve when all the clan is together, the Queen’s grandchildren and great-grandchildren put the finishing touches to the 20ft Christmas tree in the White Drawing Room.”

He continued: “Presents will be opened that day at tea time as the royals still keep to the German practice of opening their gifts on Christmas Eve.

“Gifts are laid out in the Red Drawing Room on a white linen-covered trestle table, with cards marking exactly where the piles of gifts should be put.”