Why Do The Royals Have To Weigh Themselves Before Christmas Dinner?

Step on the scale — it's a royal Christmas tradition! Many would agree that the holidays are synonymous with huge meals, Christmas dinner being the ultimate belly-busting feast. With stuffed turkey, glazed ham, or a juicy roast as the centerpiece next to dozens of colorful sides, you might wonder how all this feasting affects the waistline. However, the royals are one step ahead, as they weigh themselves before (and after) the Christmas meal. Shocking as it may sound, the history of this royal tradition is actually quite endearing.

Winter feasting has long been a part of our history. During the Middle Ages, History shares that Christmas was a time for nobility to host massive banquets that displayed wealth, that is, until the Victorians embraced a more intimate and refined (but, still abundant) way of feasting. As for what was actually eaten, The Guardian reports that offerings of meat and trimmings were typical, with turkey becoming a popular protein after Charles Dickens penned "A Christmas Carol." While the holiday meal now includes any number and variety of unique dishes, celebrating abundance remains a focal point of Christmas dinner. 

Echoing this sentiment, the royals actually partake in several grand feasts at their holiday home in Sandringham. However, the day of well-deserved indulgence begins with a quirky tradition: All guests must step on an antique scale prior to dining, CBS News. The only question is, why?

It's an old tradition

According to Hello Magazine, Christmas morning begins with a full English breakfast, followed by a lunch of turkey and traditional fixings (stuffing, mashed potatoes, Brussels sprouts), complete with a brandy-soaked and flambéed dessert. After a walk to digest, royals reconvene for afternoon tea, featuring mince pies, sandwiches, yule logs and fruitcakes, all before ending with an elaborate and abundant buffet for dinner. Interestingly, the final feast of the day also concludes with a post-meal weigh-in, but why?

Despite the fact that the tradition has had its fair share of controversy, it continues to be a part of the dining experience as a tribute to the past. Dating back to the days of King Edward VII's reign, CBS News explains that the curious ritual was a measure of enjoyment. If dinner guests put on a few pounds — the preferred amount being at least 3 pounds (via Brides) — it was a sign that the meal was well-received and appreciated.

However, that's not the only interesting oddity during Christmas dinner. Aside from strict dress codes and rigid seating plans, The National News reports dining is also meant to end once the Monarch has put their cutlery down. So much for seconds!