Didn’t you get a card from Charles and Camilla? Here’s what you missed – and highlights from Christmas past | King Charles III

Name: Royal Christmas cards.

Age: About 120 years old – a picture of the future George VI in a sailor suit was sent out for Christmas 1903.

Look: A festival of luxurious natural fibers and stylish unity.

Royal Christmas cards? Really? There’s a perma-crisis going on, you know. Ah, come on. Nothing says Christmas like analyzing photos of absurdly privileged people looking uncomfortable. Come, enjoy the kind of Windsor study that gets Nicholas Witchell hot under the collar with me!

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s 2018 Christmas card, featuring, from left, Prince Louis, Princess Charlotte and Prince George. Photo: Matt Porteous/PA/EPA

Hmph. Can’t they just buy one eight pack with charity Rudolfs and Robins like the rest of us? Traditionally, the royal family has used the festive season as an opportunity to show the lumpen proletariat their softer side, with carefully staged family photos that Majesty magazine could describe as “heartwarming”.

Go ahead, take me through the highlights if you must. Depends on how you like your royal cards – Tony and Cherie 2014 difficult? Or with a touch of authentic affection?

OK thanks. There are so many to choose from. Little convincing laughter on the royal yacht? Prince Philip looking utterly bored? The Charles and Di misery years? For a real treat, I recommend the 2016 Clarence House gem, which unusually shows Charles grimacing among a group of happy Croatian dancers in traditional dress.

The Duke and Duchess of Cornwall's 2016 Christmas card, capturing the royal couple in Tvrđa, the old town of the city of Osijek.
The Duke and Duchess of Cornwall’s 2016 Christmas card, capturing the royal couple in Tvrđa, the old town of the city of Osijek. Photo: PA Images/Alamy

Why is it unusual? He always looks awkward. Charles and Camilla tend to be aces in the Christmas card game, with calm, serene pictures of them looking genuinely happy: hugging in the garden or goofing around at the races. Last year’s featured Charles fixing Camilla’s face mask, pretty cute.

I must say they look happy. And so in love! It is the spirit.

What about dogs? There are tons of dogs: a full furry selection box of corgis, dorgis, terriers and labs. The card from 1998 has a record-sized dog per 2.4 people.

Queen Elizabeth II, the Prince of Wales, Prince Edward, Princess Anne, Prince Andrew and the Duke of Edinburgh on board the Royal Yacht Britannia during a visit to Norway.  The image was used on the Queen's personal Christmas card in 1969.
Queen Elizabeth II, the Prince of Wales, Prince Edward, Princess Anne, Prince Andrew and the Duke of Edinburgh on board the Royal Yacht Britannia during a visit to Norway. The image was used on the Queen’s personal Christmas card in 1969. Photo: PA Images/Alamy

So what’s happening at this year’s? No dogs, unfortunately: C and C’s card shows the two of them at the Braemar Highland Gathering, resplendent in wool. Charles stares into the distance; Camilla smiles at him and has an oversized pheasant on her hat, which seems risky around the trigger-happy crowd.

What about the younger generation? We’re still waiting with baited breath for the 2022 editions, but the Wales clan usually keep it traditional with plenty of healthy outdoor shots and casual country wools. Harry and Meghan, meanwhile, are hammering their breezy Montecito casualness: 2021 featured not only bare feet and distressed denim, but the message “Happy holidays”. Consider my pearls in a pinch.

The Royal Christmas Greeting to the British Troops, 1914, with Queen Mary and King George V.
The Royal Christmas Greeting to the British Troops, 1914, with Queen Mary and King George V. Photo: Trykksamleren/Alamy

Do we think the Sussexes are on the Welsh Christmas card list this year? There’s certainly enough frost for a full winterscape scene.

Say: “Wishing you a very Merry Christmas and New Year.”

Do not say: “It’s Funky Pigeon e-cards this year: we’ve just had the heating bill for Buckingham Palace.”

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