The Week That Was: Kings, Queens and Their Hungry Subjects

22/12/2012 21:40 GMT | Updated 21/02/2013 10:12 GMT

We've seen an awful lot of the Royal family this past year. From their rain-drenched smiles on the Jubilee barge back in July, to the Queen's scene-stealing performance during the Olympic opening ceremony, not to mention Harry's shenanigans in Vegas, the Windsors have been hard to ignore.

With a Royal baby on the way, that state of affairs looks set to continue into 2013, but before we start speculating about just where they'll pop up, the numerous potential maternity outfits Kate will model or which blonde's heart Harry will break next, the Queen decided to set a new precedent this week, attending her first cabinet meeting. Judging by the photos, which pictured David Cameron's team in high spirits, it was quite literally a roaring success.

If 2012 has been a year of firsts for the Royals, this past week they've had some serious competition for their crowns. Step forward Bradley Wiggins, or Sir Bradley Wiggins as he's expected to become in the New Year Honours List.

Waltzing away with the BBC Sports Personality of the Year trophy last Sunday evening, Wiggins more than lived up to expectations, toasting his victory like a true Brit: lots of booze, some impromptu singing and a trip to McDonald's at 5am. The upshot? The British public love him even more than before. A lesson straight out of the Harry Windsor school of thought.

Despite the festive cheer this week, (that and the fact the world didn't end on Friday) it hasn't been goodwill to all men, thanks to flooding across the country, rail service nightmares and, inevitably, gridlocked roads.

But while a delay to your journey to visit friends and family (or even just get home), can be tear-your-hair-out stressful, it's nothing compared to the pain of not having enough food to put on the table.

As The Huffington Post UK's Jessica Elgot reported for us yesterday, more than 15,000 people have been visiting Britain's food banks in the run-up to Christmas this year. A substantial rise on the 8,500 that the Trussell Trust, the UK's biggest network of food banks, donated food parcels to in the same period last year.

As austerity measures bite even harder, there's little festive cheer for many queuing up to receive donated food. That amongst those lining up for the hand-outs it's not just individuals on benefits, but plenty of men and women who work, is a harsh reminder of life in Britain today.

"So many people who need to use the food bank actually think of themselves as someone who gives to the food bank, not who receives," Louise Wratten, who runs the Trussell Trust's Salisbury Food Bank, told HuffPost.

"I spoke to a lady recently, who had to explain to her little boy why the food he had donated at Harvest festival was coming back to the family.

"But that family were really struggling, the father was ill and out of work, with no sick pay, his mum has a job which doesn't start until January, after Christmas.

"Many of the people we see are in work. And this time of year is especially hard because this time of year the hours are drying up, people in the construction industry for example.

"If you are working, but not getting enough to make ends meet suddenly, or your bill goes up, or your car breaks down, it tips you over the edge."

As you put food on your table this Tuesday, spare a thought for those that can't.