What the Queen and Prince Philip give to their staff at Christmas

By Sharnaz Shahid

It's been hailed one of the best seasonal treats, and each year, the Queen and Prince Philip present their staff with this special yuletide gift - Tesco's Finest Matured Christmas Pudding. Although the royal family are known for giving each other "funny" presents, the monarch makes sure a pudding is ordered for each of her 550-odd staff members. Prior to the Tesco sweet treat, the Queen used to hand out puddings from Harrods or Fortnum & Mason - which holds a warrant as royal grocers - as festive gifts. Each year, the order was made up of more than 1,000 puddings, which meant the switch to Tesco saved the royal purse a considerable amount.

Queen ElizabethThe Queen gives her staff the same gift each Christmas

Meanwhile, for those who have worked for Her Majesty for a considerable amount of time, they are also handed a voucher. It has been reported that the handing out of Christmas vouchers to staff is regiment, with the most senior household staff going first, followed by clerks and then domestic workers and gardeners. The Queen, 91, hosts Christmas for the royal family at Sandringham House in Norfolk each year. The reigning monarch heads there on 19 December or 20 December, with the family joining on Christmas Eve.

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According to Darren McGrady - the former chef to the Queen, Diana Princess of Wales and Princes William and Harry - presents for the family are placed on trestle tables which they get to open on Christmas Eve. He recently told HELLO! Online: "It was the same meal every year. They're actually boring when it comes to festivities! They didn't do hams or anything, just traditional turkeys. We did three turkeys for the Queen and her family in the royal dining room, one for the children's nursery and then more for the 100 or so staff, so everyone had a Christmas lunch."

After lunch the royals would go for a walk around Sandringham Estate, then come back to watch the Queen's speech. "Not long after they'd go in for afternoon tea," said Darren. "It was always the chocolate Yule log, which was a twist on the chocolate birthday cake, scones, mince pies, different types of sandwiches and the Christmas cake. We'd make one big Christmas cake for the Queen and the royal family and then another smaller one for the nursery for Prince William, Prince Harry, Zara, Peter, Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie. It was always fruit cake – royal icing, marzipan and the traditional fruit cake."

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Kensington Palace have since confirmed that Meghan Markle will join the Queen and other senior members of the royal family for Christmas at Sandringham. Meghan's invitation marks a break in tradition for the royals; Duchess of Cambridge was not invited to join Prince William for Christmas in 2010, despite announcing their engagement a month before.

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