The British royal family have a reputation for not being the most warm and fuzzy bunch. Invitations to their private residences are rare for non-royals, including the romantic partners of the royals.
Every year, Queen Elizabeth invites family members to celebrate Christmas at one of her homes and a long-standing rule has been that only spouses of the family are invited.
However, this year, the Queen allegedly broke tradition and invited Meghan Markle, Prince Harry’s new fiancée, to join them. The UK’s Sunday Times reported Prince Harry reportedly asked his grandmother to make an exception and invite his 36-year-old bride-to-be to the family’s celebration.
This seems highly possible, as Markle has been living in London with Harry recently and her American-based family are thousands of miles away in California.
By contrast, Prince William and his then-girlfriend Kate Middleton dated for nine years, and she was not invited to Christmas with the Queen until 2011, after the couple had married, according to Hello Magazine.
Prince Harry and Markle announced their plans to marry last week and said they became engaged earlier this month after an 18-month-long relationship. The couple will have a May 2018 wedding at St. George’s Chapel, at Windsor Castle outside of London.
Sandringham Estate is located in Norfolk, and is one of the locations where the royal family celebrates the holidays. Markle should pack several changes of outfits, as the Times said their celebration includes “a black-tie dinner, a full English breakfast, and a pheasant shoot,” which reportedly takes place on Dec. 26 or Boxing Day.
On Christmas Day, Markle can expect to join the family in watching the Queen’s annual Christmas broadcast. The Queen began her broadcast in 1952, following the sudden death of her father. During the broadcast, the monarch is known to reflect upon events of the past year.
Markle can also expect to attend a church service on Christmas Day at St. Mary Magdalene Church, near the Sandringham Estate, with other members of the royal family. Before she ties the knot with Prince Harry, the American actress is expected to be baptized and confirmed into the Church of England.
However, like many couples, Prince Harry and his bride-to-be may try to fit both sides of their families in. They may jet to the United States for part of the Christmas break, a source told People.com, claiming: “Knowing Harry, I wouldn’t be surprised if he jets off to L.A. at Christmas or around Christmas to spend time with her family.”