Unveiling the British Royal Family’s Secret German Traditions

When we think of the British Royal Family, we often imagine quintessentially British traditions, from afternoon tea to the Changing of the Guard. However, the Royal Family also has a rich German heritage that has influenced their private traditions and customs. This German influence dates back to the 18th century when the Hanoverian kings ascended the British throne. Today, the Royal Family continues to celebrate their German heritage in various ways, from Christmas traditions to family recipes.

The German Origins of the British Royal Family

The British Royal Family’s German roots can be traced back to the House of Hanover. In 1714, George I, the Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg, became the King of Great Britain and Ireland. He was the first of the Hanoverian kings, a dynasty that would rule Britain until Queen Victoria’s death in 1901. Despite their reign, the Hanoverians retained strong ties to their German homeland, influencing the British court with their customs and traditions.

Christmas Traditions

One of the most notable German influences on the British Royal Family is the celebration of Christmas. Prince Albert, Queen Victoria’s German husband, is credited with popularising the Christmas tree in Britain. The Royal Family continues this tradition today, decorating their tree at Windsor Castle with ornaments and lights.

Another German Christmas tradition that the Royal Family observes is the exchange of presents on Christmas Eve, rather than Christmas Day. This custom, known as “Bescherung” in Germany, is a highlight of the Royal Family’s festive celebrations.

Family Recipes

The Royal Family’s German heritage is also reflected in their culinary traditions. Queen Victoria was known to enjoy German dishes, particularly those from her husband’s native Saxe-Coburg. Today, the Royal Family continues to enjoy these recipes, such as Saxe-Coburg Soup, a hearty beef and vegetable soup.

German Language

Language is another area where the Royal Family’s German heritage is evident. Many members of the Royal Family, including Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Charles, are fluent in German. This linguistic skill not only reflects their German ancestry but also serves as a diplomatic tool in their royal duties.


While the British Royal Family is often seen as a symbol of British tradition and heritage, their German roots have significantly influenced their customs and traditions. From Christmas celebrations to family recipes, the Royal Family continues to honour their German heritage, a testament to the enduring ties between these two nations.