Christmas parties have a bit of a reputation in the land of sitcom and stand-up for unfortunate goings on. Nothing, it turns out, is new.
In 1484 the Croyland Chronicler, a monk – so perhaps not the best judge of party excess, announced that he couldn’t possibly describe the goings-on at Richard III’s Christmas court because they were just too shocking for words. Of course, he then went on to mention the dancing, the singing and the frocks (belonging to Queen Anne and Elizabeth of York and which they apparently swapped for a giggle.)
Essentially the key points are that firstly the merriment caused much head shaking (and presumably head holding the next morning) and that secondly the swapping of the dresses was partially responsible for the idea that Richard III had an inappropriate interest in his young niece.
It is to be wondered how genuine Richard and Anne’s merriment really was in 1484 as their only child Prince Edward (Edward of Middleham) had died in April that year.