updated 12/18/2013 AT 10:35 AM ET
•originally published 12/18/2013 AT 10:30 AM ET
While he’ll likely be the center of attention as the Royal Family gathers next week to celebrate his first Christmas at the Queen’s country retreat, Sandringham, Prince George will actually find himself quietly ensconced in the nursery when the real holiday action takes place.
Darren McGrady, who worked for the Windsors for 15 years – the last four of which, until 1997, in the employ of Princess Diana and her young sons – says nothing much will have changed from his days behind the carving station and in the kitchens.
The festivities begin on Christmas Eve, by which time the guests will have arrived through the front door, as all “packages and parcels would come to the back and be brought through the kitchen,” says McGrady, author of Eating Royally.
At around 4 p.m. guests enter the white Drawing Room for tea. The next stop is the red Drawing Room, where the staff has already laid out the presents on trestle tables for each family member.
What do you get those who have practically everything? Novelties and gimmicks.
“The crazier and the more quirky is what they love. It’s not about something really amazing or a Cartier watch,” McGrady says. Young William once received a Winnie the Pooh-themed china set.
“Diana got upset once because she bought cashmere sweaters and she thought that would be nice, but they don’t do that. Prince Philip would get a peppermill with a light on it and he would think that was hilarious.”