Why This Royal Ritual Featured In Spencer Has Twitter Talking

British royalty has always been steeped in tradition — some dignified, and some that seem odd to U.S. commoners. There are long-standing ceremonies, such as the Trooping the Colour military parade that goes back 400 years, and the daily Ceremony of the Keys that takes place at the Tower of London (via Reader's Digest). Then there are the age-old rules that the royal family still needs to follow, such as never signing autographs, and ending meals as soon as the queen is done, per PureWow. Royal weddings include traditions about wearing a tiara, and why every bridal bouquet includes a sprig of myrtle from one particular shrub on the Isle of Wight (via Brides).

Christmas is another tradition-laden time for the queen, her children, and the extended families. The royals all gather at the monarch's country estate at Sandringham before the big day, and exchange their gifts — modest and often humorous — during teatime on Christmas Eve. In addition, the queen gives presents to certain members of the Royal Household, and everyone on the palace staff receives a Christmas pudding (via the Royal Family website).

But there's a lesser-known tradition that was brought to the public attention through the new film "Spencer," starring Kristen Stewart as Princess Diana. The film imagines what might have happened over Christmas weekend in 1991, the year before the princess and Prince Charles divorced. On her arrival at Sandringham, Diana, already dreading the weekend with her in-laws, is expected to follow a protocol that is understandably difficult for her.

The royals reportedly still weigh themselves before and after the holidays

The royal family is reportedly expected to undergo a weigh-in both on arrival and just before departing. The odd ritual originated around the turn of the 20th century with Edward VII, who was Queen Victoria's son and Queen Elizabeth's great-grandfather (via BritRoyals). The monarch, who was known for his "high society lifestyle" as prince, according to the royal family's website, apparently wanted to see proof that his guests were leaving satisfied, according to royal expert Ingrid Seward (via Grazia UK). That's not a difficult goal, considering that the royals' festivities include a black-tie Christmas Eve dinner, a big Christmas lunch, tea, and a full dinner in the evening.

All this was surely tortuous for a princess who was already struggling with poor self-image, her failing marriage, and the eating disorder bulimia. The film shows Diana arriving at Sandringham and expressing disgust at having to stand on the antique scales. Although the royals haven't confirmed that the weighing still goes on, perhaps future generations of monarchs will put an end to the unnecessary holiday tradition.

Meanwhile, the news has been sending a stir through Twitter for some time. Comments include this very British reaction from 2018: "I for one am gooped and gagged and shook." Another fan tweeted, "One downside of being a member of the royal family." A respondent declared, "If the Royal family wanted me to weigh in after Christmas dinner I'd tell them to jog on!"