Prince William has confirmed in an interview what the Royalist has been reporting for some time – that the Cambridges have brought to an end a long-standing royal tradition of giving and receiving presents on Christmas Eve, a custom tracing its roots back to Prince Albert’s Germanic heritage.
Instead, Prince George, like millions of other children around the world, will be opening his gifts on Christmas Day.
The details of the royal Christmas are an engrossing subject for royal reporters (guilty as charged) however, we ink-stained wretches have to rely on secret sources and back channel briefings for our festive features. The details of the celebrations are regarded as ‘private’ and we tend to get short shrift when we ask about them.
But now, in a significant break with tradition, Prince William has given a first-hand insight into his family Christmas for the first time, in a revealing interview with a trainee journalist, Sophia Kichou, whom he first met when she was homeless five years ago.
Kichou, who became homeless at 18 when it became unsafe to stay with her father, was writing for the Big Issue, a magazine sold by homeless men and women in the UK.
It is a rare print interview, as the royal preference is for broadcast interviews to avoid misrepresentation.
Now 24, Sophia was invited to Kensington Palace to chat to Will about youth homelessness, careers and Christmas.
William talked about why Centrepoint is a charity close to his heart and his memories of visiting hostels with his mother, Diana, Princess of Wales. However, grabbing headlines, predictably perhaps, is his discussion of his two-year-old son Prince George’s Christmas plans.
"George will be bouncing around like a rabbit," William told The Big Issue magazine in the interview, out in the UK today (Monday). "I think George will be extremely bouncy this year because he's suddenly worked out what Christmas is all about ... If I get any sleep on Christmas Eve it'll be good."
And William, whose daughter Princess Charlotte will be experiencing her first Christmas, adds, "So that will be two children, one who suddenly appreciates Christmas, which could be quite challenging. But I'm looking forward to it."
William also touched on his holiday plans – and dropped a hint that they will indeed once again be snubbing the Queen’s lunch to enjoy a relaxed and informal Christmas day at their home, Anmer Hall, in Norfolk.
“We'll go to church as a family on Christmas Day, as we always do. Then we'll watch George try to tackle his presents as he tries to unwrap them.
"It's a very different experience at Christmas, having a family of your own," he said.
William added, "It'd be nice if we got a white Christmas because we haven't had one in many years."
William also spoke about visiting hostels with his late mother Diana, Princess of Wales.
"I think it goes back to when my mother first took the role when I was a small boy. I was very struck by the people I met and what they were struggling with – sleeping rough, sofa surfing, not having basic comforts a lot of us take for granted.
"That really struck me at a young age, bearing in mind the gulf for me growing up in a palace and seeing the other end of the spectrum. That was powerful to see at a young age. In today's Western world, with all the advancements and privileges we have, the fact some people don't have a bed or a roof over their head is quite ridiculous."
Kichou says that "interviewing Prince William was a very significant moment in my career."
"At the beginning, I was a little nervous but as the interview went on, my nerves calmed down and I began to enjoy it. I am very grateful to everyone who helped make this happen.”