By Melissa Locker
Prince William, Prince Harry, Princess Diana, and Prince Charles Christmas Card
Credit: FREDERIC J. BROWN/Getty Images

Like many families across the South–and the world—every year Britain's Royal Family sends out a Christmas card, including a family photo and a wish for a merry Christmas. It's hard to say exactly when the first royal Christmas card was sent out, but back in 1914 Queen Elizabeth II's great grandparents, King George V and Queen Mary sent a photo to the British troops fighting on the continent in World War I. Along with formal portraits of the royal couple, the card included best wishes and hope that God would protect them and bring them home safe.

Fast forward to World War II and then-Princess Elizabeth was sending a similar note to the Grenadier Guards regiment of the British Army. She included a photo of herself in her honorary Colonel uniform and wrote a kind note about the "honour and privilege" of working alongside them and wishing them a "very merry Christmas and happy New Year."

In 1955, Elizabeth was the Queen of England, happily married to Prince Philip with two young children, Prince Charles and Princess Anne. The family Christmas card featured the family and was signed "with best wishes for Christmas and the New Year." One of the first Christmas cards to include a color photo came in 1957, when the royal family posed under a flowering tree with two of the Queen's beloved Welsh Corgis in a dreamy spring-like setting.

In the days before the internet, the royal family used Christmas cards to mark important events like marriages and family additions. In 1965, Elizabeth and Philip's family had grown and Princes Andrew and Edward had joined the family, and the family's Christmas card featured Edward sitting up in a royal baby carriage. In 1981, newlyweds Prince Charles and Princess Diana included a photo from their wedding along with their good wishes. By 1982, they had more good news to announce and included their newborn son Prince William on the card. Come 1984, Prince Harry was part of the Christmas photo, too.

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It wasn't all milestone memories, though. Christmas cards are a way for the royal family to show the more fun, casual side of royal life. So, like many of us who feature our Hilton Head or Florida family vacation pictures on our cards, the royals liked to use summer photos in their Christmas cards, too. In 1969, the royal family sent out a sporty holiday picture, posing on a parked speed boat. For their holiday card in 2016, Charles and Camila included a photo from their vacation (okay, it was a royal visit) to Croatia, surrounded by traditional dancers with big smiles on their faces. Last year, Prince William and Kate Middleton used an adorable family photo from their trip to Canada on their Christmas card, including Princess Charlotte and Prince George gazing in wonder at a balloon artist (who probably had no idea he would end up on the royal family's holiday card).

While this year's card hasn't been revealed yet, it will undoubtedly be a perfectly sweet family affair with plenty of well wishes. Now, if anyone could tell us how to get on the royal family's Christmas card list.