Why Royal Family members get weighed when they arrive for Christmas

attends a Christmas Day church service at Sandringham on December 25, 2016 in King's Lynn, England.
The Royal Family attending church at Sandringham on Christmas day. (Getty Images)

Like every family who celebrates Christmas, the royals have their traditions. But there's one, highlighted last year, that raised both questions and eyebrows.

In Spencer, a film based on Princess Diana starring Kirsten Stewart, the characters are seen being weighed before and after their Christmas dinner.

While critically acclaimed, it was one part of the highly stylised film that is said to be accurate amongst a host of fictionalisations.

British royals Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon (1930-2002), Peter Phillips, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, Prince William, Prince Harry and Diana, Princess of Wales (1961-1997) attend the Christmas Day service at St Mary Magdalene Church on the Sandringham estate in Norfolk, England, 25th December 1990. (Photo by Princess Diana Archive/Getty Images)
Princess Diana, pictured here at the Christmas day service the royals attend each year in Sandringham, would most likely not have enjoyed the annual weigh-in, given her well publicised struggles with an eating disorder. (Getty Images)

The Royal Family has taken part in this tradition for decades - reportedly since the early 1900s. Supposedly, the point of the tradition is to see how much everyone enjoyed their food, and make sure that all the guests were given enough to eat. The idea being that if they had been well fed, they'd have put a couple of pounds on.

Started by Edward VII, guests under the late Queen Elizabeth would weigh themselves upon their arrival on antique scales, before doing the same at the end of their time at Sandringham.

Watch: How Many of These Royal Christmas Traditions Does Your Family Practise?

1897:  The Prince of Wales (1841 - 1919), at Sandringham in Norfolk.  After serving for 60 years as Prince of Wales, he succeeded his mother Queen Victoria as King Edward VII in 1901.  (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
King Edward VII, pictured here in Sandringham is said to have started the royal tradition of weighing guests at Christmas. (Getty Images)

While it remains to be seen if this tradition will be kept up under the new King Charles, in 2018, Ingrid Seward, the editor of Majesty Magazine told Grazia that the tradition was still ongoing.

It may well not have been a Christmas custom that the late Diana would have taken part in happily, as she was open about her struggles with bulimia.

How are the Royal Family spending Christmas this year?

The Windsors are set to spend Christmas together at Sandringham, as was the long held tradition under Queen Elizabeth.

As it's the family's first festive season without their matriarch, it is bound to look a little different for the royals and the extended family are able to gather for the first time since the pandemic began.

BUCKLEBURY, BERKSHIRE - DECEMBER 25:  Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge and Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, Prince George of Cambridge and Princess Charlotte of Cambridge arrive to attend the service at St Mark's Church on Christmas Day on December 25, 2016 in Bucklebury, Berkshire.  (Photo by Andrew Matthews - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
Kate and William with their children George and Charlotte attending the Christmas day church service on the Sandringham estate, one of the annual royal traditions. (Getty Images)

Beforehand, Charles and Camilla will hold another lunch celebrating Christmas in Windsor, which the wider family are invited to. Camilla's two children, Tom, 47, and Laura, 44 are reported to have been invited to Sandringham this year, the first time the monarch has officially celebrated with a blended family.

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It will be the first time in decades that it is a King's Christmas Speech, instead of the Queen's, and reports have claimed that it will be "different" from how the Queen used to approach it the annual address.

It isn't likely that Meghan and Harry will be joining their relatives at Sandringham, after the recent release of their Netflix documentary series saw them level some serious accusation at the royal institution, including that aides working for Prince William briefed the press negatively against the Sussexes.

KING'S LYNN, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 25: (L-R) Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, Meghan, Duchess of Sussex and Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex arrive to attend Christmas Day Church service at Church of St Mary Magdalene on the Sandringham estate on December 25, 2018 in King's Lynn, England. (Photo by Stephen Pond/Getty Images)
William, Kate, Meghan and Harry attended the Christmas Day Church service on the Sandringham estate together before the Sussexes left life as working royals behind. (Getty Images)

Harry's upcoming memoir, Spare, is poised to be released just a couple of weeks after Christmas, and Yahoo understands he is scheduled to appear on 60 Minutes with Anderson Cooper to promote the book.

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Whether Prince Andrew will attend King Charles' private Christmas festivities is unclear, it seems however very unlikely the Duke of York will be invited to attend the church service at Sandringham and take part in the traditional photo op.

After their visit to the church, the Royal Family are said to return back to Sandringham for their Christmas lunch — traditionally entering the dining room in order of seniority whilst Queen Elizabeth II was head of the family.

British royals Prince Charles, Prince Harry, Diana, Princess of Wales (1961-1997), wearing a blue and turquoise suit by Catherine Walker, with a matching hat, Prince Andrew, Duke of York, and Sarah, Duchess of York attend the Christmas Day church service at St Mary Magdalene Church in Sandringham, Norfolk, England, 25th December 1991. (Photo by Princess Diana Archive/Getty Images)
Prince Harry as a child walking with his mother Diana to church, followed by Prince Andrew and his then-wife Sarah Ferguson, only Charles is amongst those pictured who will be in attendance this year. (Getty Images)

Then they take a walk together as a family, before enjoying afternoon tea and an evening meal. Even if King Charles decides to do away with the tradition of weighing his guests, it seems pretty likely they'll be well fed after all that.