In times past, Princes William and Harry, formerly inseparable brothers, engaged in a cherished Christmas tradition for a noble cause. The annual ritual involved the royal siblings initiating the festive season at Sandringham by partaking in a charity football match alongside friends and estate staff.

For years, the princes found themselves on opposing teams, vying for victory on a pitch near the 12th-century residence of Tory peer Lord Greville Howard. Regrettably, this tradition abruptly ceased in 2016 when both brothers, despite being invited, failed to appear for the match.

Lord Howard expressed surprise, stating, “They were not expected. One does not like to ask why, but they have enjoyed playing in previous years.” It was later revealed that just before the game, their cousin Zara Tindall had experienced a heartbreaking miscarriage, casting a somber shadow over the occasion.

Since that poignant moment, the Christmas Eve football tradition has remained dormant, and given the existing rift between the brothers, its revival seems improbable. This year, Prince William is set to celebrate Christmas at Sandringham with Kate, George, Charlotte, and Prince Louis, marking King Charles’s inaugural festive season as the reigning monarch.

In contrast, Prince Harry is anticipated to spend Christmas in California with Meghan Markle and their children Archie and Lilibet. Despite rumors suggesting a possible reconciliation with the Royal family, the brothers’ divide casts uncertainty over the future of the once-cherished tradition.

Under the leadership of King Charles, who assumed the throne following Queen Elizabeth’s passing in 2021, the Royal family traditionally begins Christmas with a morning visit to St Mary Magdalene Church, followed by a family lunch featuring all the customary festive trimmings. The day concludes with the family gathering to watch The King’s annual televised address, typically airing at 3 pm on December 25th.

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