The Queen’s beautiful country estate that once had its own time zone


When it comes to the Royal Family, there are many posh and eccentric associations that spring to mind – whether it is banning fish knives at the dinner table because they are too “common” or allegedly weighing themselves before Christmas dinner to ensure they are “well-fed”.

But did you know that one of The Queen’s homes used to have its very own time zone? The trend was bought in originally by the Queen’s great grandfather, King Edward VII, for an incredibly unique reason and was carried on for many years after his death.

While The Queen hasn’t chosen to keep up with the tradition today, it is surprising to learn about the origins of this story that all took place at one of the most famous royal residences

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The Sandringham Estate is located in Norfolk

The Sandringham Estate is one of the most famous royal homes that the Queen uses today. It is located in the Norfolk area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and is where she typically spends the festive period.

While she opted to stay at Windsor last year, Her Majesty has many fond memories of Sandringham from when she would go and visit her grandfather, King George V. The first royals to call the 20,000 acre estate home were The Prince and Princess of Wales (later King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra).

While the Queen visits the house mainly at Christmas nowadays, it used to be lived in all year round by her predecessors, mainly as it was an ideal location for hunting and shooting.

And that suitability is exactly why an incredibly strange rule- known as ‘Sandringham Time’ was brought in by King Edward VII while he was still the Prince of Wales.

Hulton Archive/Getty Images
King Edward VII introduced ‘Sandringham Time’

The Prince of Wales loved outdoor sports, particularly hunting, and came up with the idea of Sandringham Time to make the most of the winter daylight hours for shooting.

He ordered all the clocks on the estate to be set half an hour ahead of Greenwich Mean Time. Sandringham Time was also later adopted at Windsor Castle and at the Balmoral Estate in Scotland.

There was also a rumour that the king brought in the strange rule as his wife was always skilled at running late for any event, but experts agree that the main reason was to make better use of the shooting facilities.

The tradition of Sandringham Time continued after Edward VII’s death and throughout the reign of George V. The confusion the trend infuriated the king’s children and Edward VIII abolished it during his brief reign. Neither George VI or The Queen chose to reinstate it.

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