First Christmas Tree in Britain
It was the British royal family’s German connections which led to the introduction of the Christmas tree custom here, but the figure behind the tradition was not as most still think Prince Albert , but George III ’s wife Queen Charlotte. Ha! Blue Peter was wrong all those years ago.
Charlotte it was who arranged for a great yew tree to be erected inside the Queen’s Lodge at Windsor on December 25 1800. A party of children of the local great-and-good was to take place that Christmas Day, and she had the tree decorated with toys, sweetmeats, fruits and nuts wrapped in wax paper; scarily the whole thing was then lit with small candles.
Germans had used Christmas trees since at least the early 17th century, some crediting Martin Luther with the idea, though it has roots back into pagan times in Europe and beyond, the evergreen symbolising eternal life.
It was, however, Prince Albert and Queen Victoria who popularised the custom here, particularly after a lithograph in The Illustrated London News in the winter of 1848 showed the rest of the country the royal Christmas tree with family gathered around it – quickly aped by the upper classes. But as so often in our history trade got there before wealth: German merchants are said to have brought the idea over with them to Manchester as early as the 1830s.
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From jodyevans on 10th December 2012
the first xmas tree was in 1800 on 25th december
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