Queen's New Year's Eve bedtime tradition was 'agony' for Princess Diana


Elton John sings at Princess Diana’s funeral in 1997

As the country gears up to celebrate New Year’s Eve, England is the only place where punters can flock to nightclubs to see in 2022. Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon urged Scots to limit Hogmanay celebrations to three households and close nightclubs. Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford has reintroduced the ‘rule of six’ and closed nightclubs, while Northern Ireland has taken similar measures. The Welsh Government came to Westminster’s aid on Thursday as they loaned four million lateral flow tests (LFTs).

The move comes amid a nationwide shortage of both LFTs and PCR tests, as Prime Minister Boris Johnson urged revellers to take a test before attending events.

Traditionally, the Royal Family see in the new year at the Queen’s Sandringham residence.

In previous years, she and Prince Philip remained there until February 6, the anniversary of the death of her father King George VI in 1952.

As the UK rings in the New Year, the Queen – under typical pre-pandemic circumstances – usually hosts a party, with an open invitation reportedly extended to all members of the Royal Family.

According to royal expert Brian Hoey, author of ‘At Home with the Queen’, Her Majesty enjoys a game of ‘lucky dip’ to celebrate.

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The Queen and Princess Diana.

Queen’s New Year’s Eve bedtime tradition was ‘agony’ for Diana (Image: GETTY)

The Queen

Her Majesty spent Christmas at Windsor Castle this year. (Image: GETTY)

The game begins with a footman bringing in a tub filled with sawdust and a series of hidden notes, all of which contain written predictions for the year ahead.

Once the clock strikes midnight, the Queen heads off to bed, and other members of the Royal Family can do the same.

This unwritten rule, according to one of the monarch’s former private secretaries, used to irritate the late Princess Diana.

Sir William Heseltine said in a throwback interview: “For Diana the long royal evenings were agony.

Princess Diana and the Queen.

Princess Diana would excuse herself from waiting until the Queen went to bed on occasion. (Image: GETTY)

“There’d be an hour or so in the sitting room of everyone sitting around making conversation, and nobody felt it right to go to bed before the Queen did.

“And Diana was driven to such extremes that she’d excuse herself and go to bed, which was thought to be rather bad form, going to bed before the Queen.”

Sir William served as Her Majesty’s private secretary between 1986 and 1990.

By the time Sir William joined the role, Diana had two young children in Prince William and Prince Harry.

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Diana, William and Harry

William and Harry were both very young when Sir William worked for the Queen. (Image: GETTY)

William, born in 1982, would have been four years old, while Harry, born two years later, would have been two.

Just like at Christmas, the royals traditionally welcome the new year with a church service.

Her Majesty usually travels to St Mary Magdalene Church in Sandringham.

Afterwards, she usually rides one of her horses around Sandringham House and organises a pheasant hunt – though it has never been confirmed whether she still partakes in the hunt itself.

The Queen

Her Majesty is set for an exciting 2022 as she celebrates her Platinum Jubilee. (Image: GETTY)

It is not clear how she will mark the occasion this year, since she remained at Windsor Castle over the festive period.

She did not attend church with Prince Charles and Camilla on Christmas Day, though it is possible she attended privately later in the day.

According to The Mirror, Buckingham Palace said the matter was a private one.

The arrival of 2022 marks a particularly special year for the Queen, as she prepares to celebrate her Platinum Jubilee.

Marking an incredible 70 years of service, she will pass the milestone on February 6.

The nation will come together for a long weekend of Jubilee festivities in June.

A four-day weekend from June 2-5 — with an extra Bank Holiday — will include Trooping the Colour, a live concert at Buckingham Palace, a visit to the Epsom Derby and a number of street parties and picnics.

The bulk of the duties will likely fall to the rest of the Royal Family, owing to the Queen’s age, health and the ongoing pandemic.


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