The story behind why Queen Elizabeth keeps her holiday decorations up through February

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If you’ve still got your Christmas decorations up, you could brush off accusations of laziness by claiming you’re simply following the example of Queen Elizabeth II. If it’s good enough for royalty!

Every year, the British royal family takes an extended break for the holidays at Sandringham Estate, a stately Norfolk country residence that the queen’s husband, Prince Philip, is responsible for maintaining. And the queen has good reason for keeping her residence at Sandringham looking festive long beyond the widely-accepted deadline of the Day of Epiphany, after Twelfth Night.

The royal family’s staff must stay quite busy during Christmas — decorations go up at Sandringham Estate, Windsor Castle and Buckingham Palace. And the decor is fit for kings and queens: just look at the photo below of a team decorating a massive Christmas tree at Windsor Castle.

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Clearly those are staffers on the ladders decorating the tall tree, but according to the royal family’s official website, the Queen and other members of her family “usually put the final touches on their Christmas tree.”

Of course, Buckingham Palace also has its halls decked. Here’s the Queen ahead of her Christmas address there in 2012.

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But the reason the queen leaves her decorations up at Sandringham House until Feb. 6 is a sweet but sad one. It’s a way to pay tribute to her father, King George VI, who died there on Feb. 6, 1952.

Since that time, the queen has let the Christmas decorations remain up until after she and Prince Philip have returned to their main residence, Buckingham Palace, reveals Hello!.

Queen Elizabeth II Visits Canada - Day 2
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While many people believe it’s bad luck to leave your Christmas decorations up past the Epiphany, clearly the queen isn’t one for religious superstition.

Instead, she prefers to stick to her own traditions, which includes the extended break at Sandringham every year. It’s common for her and Prince Philip to travel there just before Christmas.

This Christmas, Prince Philip was released from the hospital (where he was being treated for a pre-existing condition) just in time to join the royal family on Christmas Eve. They were joined by other members of the royal family, including Prince William and Kate Middleton and their eldest children, Prince George and Princess Charlotte, for the first time.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, chose to spend the festive period with Meghan’s mother Doria Ragland in Canada instead.

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