Every family has at least one holiday tradition that others would look upon and ask, “Why, though?” The British royal family is no exception. If you’ve seen Spencer, which stars Kristen Stewart as Princess Diana, you likely know about the Christmas tradition in question: Toward the beginning of the movie, palace servants are seen polishing an old scale that the royals are supposedly required to weigh themselves on before and after their holiday dinner. Excuse me? And, furthermore, what?
Yes, there really is a long-standing tradition in which the queen asks her guests to step on the ol’ scale after Christmas dinner to ensure that everyone “enjoyed themselves” — that is, gained weight. As royal expert Ingrid Seward told Grazia in 2018, the practice dates back to the early 1900s when King Edward VII would have guests weigh themselves before and after their visits. Per Vanity Fair, their perceived enjoyment of dinner hinged on weight gain; guests who ate enough and “enjoyed” themselves were expected to gain about three pounds.
As it’s depicted in Spencer, this obviously isn’t the most sensitive practice. (It was particularly stressful for Princess Diana given her experience with bulimia.) It also doesn’t help that the holidays can exacerbate disordered eating, especially because of our cultural obsession with winter weight gain. With that in mind, here are some suggestions for alternative traditions that Queen Elizabeth could start this year:
- A royal burp-off
- A contest to see who can take the longest post-dinner nap
- My family always makes this chip dip that is essentially just one (1) entire brick of cream cheese softened in the microwave. Maybe the royals can try that?
- Perhaps they could do the thing where you hide a pickle in the Christmas tree for some reason?