Princess Diana’s Christmases at Sandringham once involved a joke she didn’t like. Turns out the late Princess of Wales, remembered by many for her laugh and wicked sense of humor, didn’t find every joke amusing. During Diana’s Christmas at Sandringham in 1991, a staff member poked fun at her future in the royal family that didn’t leave her laughing.
Diana didn’t like spending Christmas at Sandringham
Among the many royal family holiday traditions is that everyone goes to Sandringham for Christmas. According to many who knew Diana, she didn’t particularly look forward to the celebration in Norfolk, England.
Diana’s former chef, Darren McGrady, explained why in a 2019 interview with Yahoo Life UK. He said Diana’s dislike of Sandringham at Christmas had a lot to do with sharing the property with the entire family.
“Sandringham was so tight, so compact. There were so many people there, all the families,” McGrady said. “You just couldn’t get away. You came out of the dining room and you couldn’t go into the sitting room because there were three or four people in there playing charades or Scrabble or something.”
Diana’s solution? McGrady recalled how she’d often “go off for a walk on her own” to get a break. So in between the busy schedule of Christmas Eve tea, opening presents, attending two church services, and watching the broadcast of Queen Elizabeth II’s annual Christmas speech Diana would find some time for herself.
Diana asked a staff member to never call her Queen Diana
Speaking to the New York Post in November 2021, McGrady, who spent 11 years cooking for the royal family, remembered Diana’s Christmas at Sandringham in 1991. Not depicted in the Kristen Stewart-led drama, Spencer, Diana’s former chef recalled a joke a fellow staff member made.
McGrady, who now runs his own catering company, remembered a co-worker named Victor who typically joked with Diana. They’d share a few laughs whenever Diana visited the kitchen. But during Diana’s Christmas at Sandringham in 1991 Victor took it a step too far.
“She came one day and walked into the silver pantry to grab a spoon for her pudding,” McGrady recalled. “Victor, who was always loud and over the top, [ostentatiously] said: “‘Oooh! It’s Queen Diana!’”
Normally, Diana would’ve laughed. Although on this occasion she told Victor to stop with the queen jokes. As McGrady recalled, she replied with: “Please don’t call me queen, Victor. I’ll never be queen.”
Diana joked about Christmas at Sandringham with her former chef
Despite Victor’s joke that didn’t quite hit the mark and her general dislike of Sandringham, that didn’t stop Diana from joking around. As McGrady told the New York Post, he crossed paths with her during one of her walks. Diana had headphones in.
“I asked her what she was listening to and she replied: ‘Phil Collins,’” the former royal chef recalled. “When I asked which song, she said: “‘Another Day in Paradise.’ It was her little joke since we both knew Sandringham wasn’t exactly her favorite place.”
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