The King’s speech will be broadcast tomorrow, December 25, across Britain, but in other nations, their respective Royal Families have their own traditions and customs. For the Monegasque family – Princess Charlene, Prince Albert, and their two children Princess Gabriella and Prince Jacques – celebrations start on Christmas eve.
On Christmas eve, the Monegasque Royal Family attend mass together, where the Pan de Natale, a traditional sweet bread in the shape of a cross, is passed around.
The Pan de Natale is traditionally blessed by the head of the royal family during the midnight mass at Monaco’s cathedral.
At the end of the mass, during the offering the Archbishop of Monaco symbolically blesses all the breads that will be shared at family tables across the principality that evening, or during Christmas dinner the next day.
After mass, Charlene and Albert’s children get ready for bed and prepare for Santa’s arrival.
Charlene told French magazine Point de Vue: “They always leave a glass of milk and cookies for him, as well as water and grass for his reindeer.”
She added that on Christmas morning, the family opens gifts together in the Palace.
Charlene revealed: “We gather around the tree. My husband, when he is with Jacques and Gabriella, is at his happiest, and he always wants to wear something festive for the occasion.”
The tradition began by Princess Grace in the late 1950s is the Christmas Gifts Distribution Party, which takes place around Christmas every year.
This year, the party was held on December 14. It is usually attended by more than 600 children, who are all given gifts by the Royal Family.
Children from five to 12 years of age are treated to festivities at the royal residence, with plenty of games and food to keep them entertained.
There is sometimes a visit from Santa Claus, and it has been reported that Prince Albert is occasionally underneath the costume.
If Albert is not Santa, the children are able to meet him and receive a gift from him and Charlene.
Palace employees reportedly carry out research to make sure the gift is appropriate for each child.
Princess Grace originally came up with the idea of the parties to treat underprivileged children to presents.
It would also be an opportunity for them to watch television at a time where many families in Monaco didn’t have access to a television set.
A Monaco resident who had attended one of Grace’s parties as a child told People: “There was no television and practically no movies, definitely no internet or diversions like today, so Princess Grace decided to offer children a day in the palace with snacks.”
Princess Charlene and her family will be spending Christmas Day at the Palais Princier de Monaco, the Prince’s Palace of Monaco.
A lavish property that was refurbished in 1814 and again at the end of the 19th century, the palace’s interior design is strongly influenced by the Italian Renaissance.
Outside, the palace has ornate archways and detailed wall decorations, as well as a huge courtyard and spiral staircases.
There is also a balcony which the family often use to stand and pose for photographs, similar to the British Royal Family’s balcony in Buckingham Palace.