How Windsor Castle Is Paying Homage To Queen Elizabeth In Christmas Decorations

In December 2021, viewers were left misty-eyed by Queen Elizabeth's annual Christmas speech. Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, had passed away just months earlier, and the queen was facing her first holiday in 73 years without her husband. This year, expect eyes to get even mistier as King Charles III gives his first holiday address as monarch. He'll surely mention his late mother and her contributions to the world, and perhaps share a memory or two of Christmases past when she hosted the huge family reunions at her Sandringham estate. 

This year's royal holiday will be different from the rest in a number of ways. In addition to being the first without the queen, it will be a "less buttoned up" celebration than usual, according to an expert who spoke to OK! (via Daily Mail). The king is said to be planning a more casual weekend in which the family will focus on enjoying their time together. He reportedly won't even be gathering everyone to watch his prerecorded speech on TV, as the outlet reported, which was the custom when the queen was alive. 

The royals' Christmas will be spent at the Sandringham estate, as usual, with present opening on Christmas Eve and a church service and dinner the following day. This means that the king and Camilla, Queen Consort, won't be at Windsor Castle for the holidays. However, the castle is already decked out in style — including a special nod to the queen.

The color purple has a long royal history

Shown in the photo here is one of the Windsor Castle Christmas trees from 2021 — the last Christmas Queen Elizabeth II would experience. Traditionally, the trees in the royal residence are trimmed with red and gold ornaments and details. This year, however, The U.S. Sun reported that the firs in St. George's Hall and the Crimson Drawing Room of the castle include purple ornaments, which stand out distinctly among the rest. According to the outlet, the queen was famous for wearing bright colors, and purple was among her favorites, so the decorations appear to be a fitting tribute to the beloved monarch.

Purple has been associated with royalty since ancient times because of its rarity and cost. When purple dye was invented, it was created from a small mollusk found only in one area of the Mediterranean Sea (via Live Science). The color was so time-consuming and expensive to make that only kings and emperors could afford to buy purple fabric. Queen Elizabeth even made it illegal for anyone outside the immediate royal family to wear the color. A synthetic purple dye was finally invented in the mid-19th century, making it possible for even commoners to sport mauve and violet clothes and accessories.

Royals fans heartily approve of this year's castle decorations. An informal poll conducted by The U.S. Sun showed that nearly 90% of readers consider the purple-trimmed trees "fabulously done!"