Much like for the rest of us, planning amid the coronavirus pandemic is a royal pain, too.
It's customary for most of the British royals to be together at Sandringham House on Christmas Day, as evidenced by years of group family photos after a service at St. Mary Magdalene Church. While the annual festivities typically draw many familiar faces—a family luncheon has had close to 50 family members in attendance—the 2020 celebrations are going to look much different amid the ongoing health crisis.
Prince William and Kate Middleton addressed the family's holiday predicament while meeting with university students in Cardiff on Tuesday, Dec. 8 as part of their ongoing journey across the United Kingdom on the Royal Train. The trip, which began on Dec. 6, includes stops in England, Scotland and Wales and visits with frontline workers, volunteers, care home staff, and teachers.
While chatting with the young people, the father of three revealed that the holidays this year are posing a challenge for them as well. "It is so difficult. We are still trying to make plans," he said. "It's difficult to know what to do for the best."
As 21-year-old student Lily Faulkner told press afterward, "They were trying like the rest of us to make Christmas plans with their family and still weren't 100 percent sure of what they were going to do or where they were going to be."
Just days ago, a Buckingham Palace spokesperson confirmed how and where Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip will be spending the holiday this year. "Having considered all the appropriate advice," the spokesperson said, "the Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh have decided that this year they will spend Christmas quietly in Windsor."
Currently, the U.K. government along with administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have permitted up to three households to form a bubble for the Christmas holiday and move within them between Dec. 23 and Dec. 27, according to the AP (via The Los Angeles Times).
Considering the limitations of the traditional Sandringham House Christmas, this year also offers an opportunity for royals to celebrate the holiday differently with relatives outside the royal family.
In the meantime, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are covering plenty of road right now as their brief train tour will total 1,250 miles traveled, including a stop in Reading on Tuesday to meet nurses at the Royal Berkshire Hospital—the hospital where Middleton was born back in 1982.
"The Duke and Duchess are very much looking forward to shining a spotlight on the incredible work that has been done across the country throughout this difficult year," a Kensington Palace spokesperson said, "and to sharing their gratitude on behalf of the nation for all those supporting their local communities ahead of the Christmas holidays."
For a closer look at royals' whirlwind trip, keep scrolling!