Queen Elizabeth II has accepted a gift of a Christmas tree from her great-grandfather’s ancestral lands near Coburg.
Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, the husband of Queen Victoria, is said to have imported the Christmas tree tradition to England.
Legend has it that Martin Luther, the religious reformer, invented the Christmas tree.
One winter’s night in 1536, Luther was walking through a pine forest near his home in Wittenberg when he suddenly looked up and saw thousands of stars glinting jewel-like among the branches of the trees. This wondrous sight inspired him to set up a candle-lit fir tree in his house that Christmas to remind his children of the starry heavens from whence their Saviour came.
By 1605 decorated Christmas trees had made their appearance in Strasburg. That year an anonymous writer recorded how at Yuletide the inhabitants ‘set up fir trees in the parlours … and hang thereon roses cut out of many-coloured paper, apples, wafers, gold-foil, sweets, etc.’