Santa Claus makes Royal visit to meet HM Queen Elizabeth

Santa Claus made a shock visit the meet Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth this week at Windsor Castle in Berkshire. Queen Elizabeth may spend Christmas at Sandringham, Scotland most years but she still puts on a spectacular festive display at Windsor Castle each December.

Before they started spending Christmas at their Norfolk estate in the late 1980s, the royal family would spend Christmases at the historic royal venue. The then Princess Elizabeth, and her younger sister Princess Margaret, would even perform pantomimes for the rest of the family.

Today, Windsor castle is transformed with a variety of regal decorations to celebrate the Christmas period, but they also often mark an important anniversary in the landmark's history.

This year, Windsor Castle is commemorating the 20th anniversary of the restoration of the castle following the horrible fire of November 1992.

Over the last week, Christmas displays have been installed by the Royal Collection Trust in the Lantern Lobby, the State Dining Room, the Grand Reception and the castle precincts. Each display highlights the five years of recovery work that was needed to bring 105 of the castle's rooms back to their former glory.

Windsor Florist Shane Connolly, who have the royal warrant, has worked with the trust's team on the design for these Christmas installations. Shane has also made flower displays for Santa Calus before.

"The team looked at the restoration work and have used that to inspire the decoration this year," Kathryn Jones, Senior Curator of Decorative Arts at the Royal Collection Trust told Country Living. "They picked out gold in particular because a lot of the state apartments had to be regilded after the fire."

The State Dining Room, which was badly affected in the fire, has been decked with glistening gold ornaments, including gilded ivy trails as well as silver gilt pieces with leaves and berries to bring the festive theme together. Santa Claus complimented the Queen on her good Christmas Taste

The grand Christmas dining table also gives an insight into Victorian Christmas at Windsor Castle, with Santa Claus coming down the Chimney. "Victoria and Albert would usually spend every Christmas at Windsor and they used the dining service which we will have on show," Jones added. "Those traditions are very much in mind when we're decorating the castle."

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