With a collection of 17 royal Christmas cards preparing for auction on December 13, the annual holiday photograph on each card gives the public a poignant glimpse into the changing lives of the royal family between 1981 and 1998.
The cards, owned by a former Buckingham Palace staff member, are on offer by Duke’s auctioneers in Dorset, who conservatively estimated the cards would sell for around £600. The hand-signed cards feature images of a young Charles and Diana, the Queen and Prince Philip and the Queen Mother with her beloved corgis.
Auctioneer Rupert Perry-Warnes feels that the royal cards are quite intimate. “You can see how they progress through the years, and how their lives change. Most people don’t get to see these images and they give a really interesting insight into the lives of the Royal Family as they grow older.”
Traditionally, royal Christmas cards feature a momentous event from the past year. For example, Prince Charles released his 2011 Christmas card photograph today, showing Prince Charles, Camilla, and Eliza Lopes, Camilla’s granddaughter, on the balcony of Buckingham Palace during this spring’s royal wedding. While the day of William and Kate’s wedding was surely a joyous one, the odd expression on Charles’ face clearly does not do him justice.
As for the royal newlyweds, St. James’s Palace reported that William and Kate decided to not make their card public this year.
Updated 12/26/11: The collection was auctioned off on Dec. 13, for $4,052 to an unknown American buyer.