Once in Royal David’s City

This Christmas we count down the days with an advent calendar of the 25 best Christmas carols ever written, as voted for by 50 top choral experts from the across the UK and US.

15 December: Once in Royal David's City

Words: Mrs CF Alexander


Music: HJ Gauntlett

Every year, one King’s College, Cambridge chorister is chosen to open the Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols with the exposed solo verse of Once in Royal in front of a packed chapel… and several million radio listeners. However, to save the poor/lucky lad from having his run-up to Christmas completely savaged by nerves, the chosen treble is never told of his big moment until just before the service is about to begin. The treble solo is just one highlight of this perennial favourite – that moment when congregation and organ stirs to life for the second verse and the glorious descant are just as much a part of the annual King’s Christmas experience.

❄ December 11: O Magnum Mysterium

December 12: Hark the Herald Angels Sing

December 13: O Magnum Mysterium


December 14: Sussex Carol