King Charles and Queen Consort Camilla reveal first Christmas card of reign

For the occasion, the British monarchs chose a photograph taken on September 3, just five days before the death of Elizabeth II

Christmas card King Charles and Queen Camila
The 2022 Christmas card of King Charles III and Queen Consort Camilla, taken during the Braemar Games on September 3, 2022.Sam Hussein/Buckingham Palace (via REUTERS)

Since Charles III was proclaimed king of the United Kingdom on September 10, following the death of Queen Elizabeth, he has celebrated many firsts of his reign. And now, he has celebrated another one: his first Christmas card as king. On Sunday, Buckingham Palace made public the official Christmas card of King Charles and Queen Consort Camilla.

For the card, the couple chose a photograph taken on September 3 at the Braemar Royal Highland Gathering, a celebration of traditional Scottish games, sports and dance in the town of Braemar. The event takes place around 36 miles (58 kilometers) west of Aberdeen, which is close to Balmoral Castle, the summer residence of the British royal family and the place of death of Queen Elizabeth II. The late monarch, who was unable to attend the gathering for the first time in her 70-year-reign, died five days after the photo was taken.

This is the first Christmas that Charles and Camilla will celebrate as Britain’s reigning monarchs. The new first comes amid the growing controversy over the Netflix docuseries Harry & Meghan, which explores the lives of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.

The royal family announced that it will continue the tradition of spending Christmas at Sandringham House, one of the favorite estates of the late queen, located 100 miles from London. Charles and Camilla will be joined by the king’s siblings, Princess Anne, Prince Andrew and Prince Edward, as well as Prince William, Kate Middleton and their children George, Louis and Charlotte. Everything indicates that Prince Henry, his wife, Meghan Markle, and their two children will not be attending.

The photo chosen by Charles III and Camilla for their 2022 Christmas card.
The photo chosen by Charles III and Camilla for their 2022 Christmas card.Samir Hussein (AP)

The photograph of Charles and Camilla in the official Christmas card was snapped by Samir Hussein, who also took the image included in their 2021 card. Hussein has taken many photos of members of the British royal family, as well as celebrities such as Lady Gaga, Taylor Swift and Angelina Jolie.

In the 2021 Christmas card, taken when King Charles was still the Princes of Wales, Charles is seen helping Camilla put on her face mask at the Ascot Racecourse – an image which sought to acknowledge the Covid-19 pandemic and how it was impacting the world.

Over the years, Charles and Camilla have opted for informal images for their official Christmas cards. In 2020, they appeared sitting on a wooden bench in the colorful garden of Birkhall, the then-prince’s Scottish home. In 2019, they chose a photo from one of their trips to Havana, Cuba.

As well as gathering in Sandringham House, every December 25 the royal family also goes to St Mary Magdalene Church for a religious service. This year, after the service, King Charles III will record his first royal Christmas message, which is broadcast on Christmas Day. In her last Christmas speech in 2021, Queen Elizabeth paid tribute to her late husband, Prince Philip, who died that same year. “Christmas can be hard for those who have lost loved ones. This year, especially, I understand why,” she said.

That year, the royal family did not come together to celebrate Christmas at Sandringham House due to the omicron variant of the coronavirus.

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