Windsor puts on a Victorian Christmas display the old Queen would have loved

Queen Victoria’s Christmas has been recreated at Windsor Castle complete with a festive tree – hanging from the ceiling.

The royal residence has been transformed with decorations the monarch and her consort Prince Albert would have recognised for a new exhibition which opens tomorrow.

Queen Charlotte, the German-born wife of George III, is credited with introducing the Christmas tree.

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But it was Albert who popularised it, presenting large numbers to schools and Army barracks and when a print was published in 1848 showing the royal family around the festive emblem, its use escalated throughout society.

The exhibition will feature a tree hanging in place of a chandelier, as in Victoria’s day, in the Octagon dining room.

The artificial tree will be covered with items inspired by decorations featured on the Queen’s firs including swags – ornamental drapery – ribbons, replica candles and imitation snow.

While most people open their presents on Christmas Day, the Royal Family still keep to the German practice of unwrapping their gifts on Christmas Eve.

The Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh and other royals usually congregate in the White Drawing Room at Sandringham House around a 20ft tree, cut from the estate, and nearby is a white linen covered trestle table laden with gifts.

At Windsor two gift tables will be recreated with presents exchanged by Victoria and Albert.

Among them is a painting of a young nun and her suitor by Sir Charles Eastlake. It was commissioned by Victoria in 1844 as a gift for her husband – it is said that Eastlake had to paint for 19 hours without a break to finish it in time.

A present from Albert to the Queen, for Christmas 1858, is included, a sculpture of Princess Beatrice, their youngest child, as a baby lying in a shell.

In the Castle’s state dining room, the table will be laid for a Victorian Christmas feast with a lavish porcelain dessert service by Minton of Staffordshire, which Victoria bought at the Great Exhibition of 1851.

During Christmas 1860 a visitor to Windsor described the “mighty sight” of 50 turkeys being roasted in the great kitchen, a huge baron of beef and a woodcock pie of 100 birds presented to the Queen each Christmas by the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland.

The Victorian Christmas displays at Windsor Castle will be on show until January 8.