King Charles' Christmas Broadcast Broke a Major Royal Tradition

The program will feature a live Christmas tree for the first time.

King Charles
(Image credit: Getty Images)

King Charles' annual Christmas message is getting a major upgrade.

The broadcast is a Christmas Day tradition in England—but this year's backdrop will be entirely new. Citing an announcement from Buckingham Palace, People reports that the broadcast will feature "natural and sustainable decorations" displayed on the tree in the background. But what does that mean, exactly? 

According to People, the Christmas tree's decor will include "hand-turned wood, pinecones, brown glass, dried oranges, and paper." The royal family's preview photo from the broadcast shows dried oranges adorning the Christmas tree behind the king. In addition to the sustainable decorations, the tree will be replanted after the broadcast airs. 2023 is the first time the program will feature a live Christmas tree, People notes.

A post shared by The Royal Family

A photo posted by theroyalfamily on

The sustainable decorations and the live Christmas tree don't come as a surprise. Charles has long worked to raise awareness about sustainability and environmental issues, encouraging other world leaders to do more than "just talk" at the U.N.'s COP26 climate summit in 2021. "In 2050, our grandchildren won't be asking what we said. They will be living with the consequences of what we did or didn't do," Charles said at this year's COP28 conference.

This year is Charles' second time taking the helm of the Christmas broadcast following Queen Elizabeth II's death in September 2022. His coronation took place this past May.

Before the airing of the broadcast, the royal family attended a Christmas Day service at St. Mary Magdalene Church in Sandringham. Along with King Charles and Queen Camilla, Prince William and Kate Middleton attended the church service with their children in tow. Also present were various other royal family members, including Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York, who hasn't participated in the church tradition since the 1990s.

Meghan De Maria
Celebrity News Writer

Meghan is a freelance news writer at Marie Claire. Her work has also ppeared in Bustle, Refinery29, Popsugar, and other outlets. When she isn't writing, Meghan runs a community for plus-size people in the Raleigh-Durham area of North Carolina.