Christmas magic is in the air in Berkshire thanks to Queen Elizabeth’s Windsor Castle Christmas decorations. The 94-year-old British monarch will be spending her holiday at the royal residence for the first time in 33 years, so you already know she pulled out all the stops.
Normally, Queen Elizabeth’s Christmas plans look a little different: Her Majesty and the rest of the royal family have a tradition of heading up to Sandringham Estate, where they participate in the annual Christmas Day procession that ends at a local church for morning mass. However, due to holiday social distancing guidelines in the U.K., the Queen and her family—like many families around the globe—will be staying put at their respective residences instead. But that doesn’t mean there’s not a need for holiday cheer, and over at Winsdor Castle, it looks like the celebrations are already well underway.
The Royal Collection Trust took to Instagram to share a video of this year’s towering Christmas tree and festive photos (which you can view here) of the rest of the property’s decorations. This year’s winning tree is a 20-foot-high Norway spruce, sourced right from Windsor Great Park. According to Town & Country, the tree is set up in St. George’s Hall, the largest room in the castle (fun fact: It’s also the same room where Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s royal wedding took place back in 2018). Staffers reportedly needed a full two days to decorate the tree, which boasts over 3,000 lights and ornaments. Tourists can even visit the tree in person for themselves until January 4, as the State Apartments are separate from the Queen’s actual living quarters.
Buckingham Palace officials announced the Queen’s decision to remain at Windsor Castle on Tuesday, December 1. She and her 99-year-old husband, Prince Philip, have spent much of their time at the property since March. “Having considered all the appropriate advice, The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh have decided that this year they will spend Christmas quietly in Windsor,” a Buckingham Palace spokesperson explained.
A separate royal source tells PEOPLE that the royal couple feels “fortunate to spend Christmas with their family every year, but they understand that their family will have competing demands over the Christmas period and are content to have a quiet festive season this year.” They added, “Like everyone, their hope is that normality will return in 2021.”