Inside the fortune telling tradition the Queen enjoys every New Year’s Eve

Inside the fortune telling tradition the Queen enjoys every New Year’s Eve


For the second year in a row, Her Majesty the Queen is spending the festive period at Windsor Castle, instead of travelling to her beloved Sandringham Estate in Norfolk.

And while a typical Christmas for the Royal Family is usually full of Church services, Christmas messages and formal three course dinners, New Year’s Eve tends to be a lot less traditional.

Normally, the 95 year old would remain at Sandringham until 6 February every year – the date that her father King George VI died in 1952, while other senior members of the family leave to mark New Year’s in their own ways.

Though the Queen won’t be celebrating in her usual way, there is one thing that she normally likes to do on New Year's Eve to mark the clocks turning midnight, and it involves a “lucky dip” game with fortune cards.

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Royal author Brian Hoey explains in his book on the Queen’s home life that the monarch uses the time to make predictions about the year ahead.

When celebrating the occasion with guests, each visitor is required to write a statement about the upcoming year on a slip of paper, and a footman puts the notes in a tub of sawdust where each individual can take their pick and read the statement aloud.

“Each member of the Royal Family takes a lucky dip and if their particular forecast is not very favourable the poor footman gets the blame,” he wrote.

Adding to this, a royal source said: “The predictions are written up by the household but approved by the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh.

“Each member of the family picks out an envelope and reads out their ­prediction to the rest of the room.

“They’re meant to be funny but like all the family’s humour there’s an element of score settling and getting even to them.

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“They’re usually taken in good humour but some people can get quite huffy if they feel they’re being got at.”

An additional New Year’s Eve tradition typically enjoyed by Her Majesty is called the first footing – where a dark-haired male must be the first to step into the house after the clocks have turned midnight carrying a gift of coal to bring luck.

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