Sunday, December 15, 2013

Antique Image of the Day: The Queen’s Christmas Tree, Windsor Castle, 1857

The Queen's Christmas Tree, Windsor Castle
The Royal Collection
Christmas and Victoriana have long been linked together. When we think of Christmas traditions, our thoughts tend to go back to the Victorian and repeat images straight out of Charles Dickens. Queen Victoria and Prince Albert did much to popularize the decoration of fir trees at Christmastime. They embraced this German custom and actually filled the royal residences with many trees—sometimes one for each member of the family as well as trees for the staff. However, while Victoria and Albert made the custom more common in Britain, contrary to popular belief, they were not the ones to initially introduce the practice to the royal household. That primary introduction came from Queen Charlotte, wife of King George III.

It was Victoria and Albert’s tradition to hand out presents on Christmas Eve. We see here an image of one of their Christmas trees in Windsor Castle, taken on Christmas Eve, 1857. This was the queen’s personal tree and all of the presents that she was to receive were placed beneath it. As we can see, among her many presents were autographed photos of popular actors of the day. Queen Victoria was never shy about showing that she was a fan of something. 

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