12/19/2011

Servants squeezed out for royals at Sandringham

Sandringham_House[1]

By any stretch, Sandringham House is big.

But even its grand stature will be put to the test this week as more than two dozen Royal Family members take up space within its 200-year-old walls.

This may go down as the largest Christmas gathering ever at Queen Elizabeth’s winter home in England -- large enough to push the servants out their own rooms to make room for guests.

The Queen, it seems, is intent on making this a memorable Christmas, capping off a year that by most standards was a very successful one for the Royal Family. From the royal wedding, to successful tours of Canada and Australia, to an historic visit to Northern Ireland, the family scored large on the PR scale.

As Christmas nears, the celebrations pick up. On Monday, it started with a family lunch at Buckingham Palace, complete with William and Kate, who are also making several appearances at charity events this week.

The grand gathering at Sandringham in Norfolk includes 29 people, according to a list compiled by the Daily Mail.

There’s the Queen and Philip, of course, and their children’s extended family:

Anne - with husband Tim Laurence; son Peter with wife Autumn and daughter Savannah; daughter Zara and Mike Tindall

Charles -  with Camilla, Harry, William and Kate

Andrew - with daughters Beatrice and Eugenie

Edward – with wife Sophie, children Louise and James

Then there are the children of the Queen’s late sister Margaret:

Viscount Linley – with his wife Serena, and children Charles and Margarita

Lady Sarah Chatto – with her husband Daniel and children Samuel and Arthur.

The latter group will likely have to make do with rooms usually set aside for servants.

“Sandringham is a large country house by anyone’s standards but they are going to be crammed in like sardines this year,” one estate staff member told the Mail.

“What with all the new husbands, wives and children, it’s the biggest royal gathering anyone has seen in years.”

The Queen will arrive mid-week and guests will start drifting in on Friday.

One name not on the Mail’s list is Pippa Middleton, who had reportedly been invited for the royals’ traditional Boxing Day pheasant shoot.

MORE ON CHRISTMAS AT SANDRINGHAM

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