Meghan Markle is expected to spend her first Christmas at Sandringham with the Queen, following her engagement to fiancé Prince Harry. Invitations are usually restricted to Her Majesty's closest family members, with a 'no ring, no bring' policy in place. But now that Meghan is preparing to become a full-time royal, it's probable that the actress will secure a coveted invite to the royal family's celebrations this year.
The Suits actress will no doubt be supported by her boyfriend Harry, and her soon-to-be in-laws – Prince William and Kate – for her first royal Christmas. Last year, Prince William and Kate spent Christmas with Kate's side of the family, the Middletons, so it's likely that they will alternate and be at Sandringham this year. The Duchess will be able to hold Meghan's hand through her first royal Christmas, having been in the same position a few years ago. It's not yet clear whether Harry and Meghan will stay at Sandringham House during the festivities, or whether they'll be put up at William and Kate's country home Anmer Hall, which is just down the road from the 'big house'.
Harry and Meghan got engaged earlier this month
The festivities are steeped in tradition. The Queen and Prince Philip usually retreat to the countryside the week before Christmas, around 21 December, to prepare for the big family reunion. Other guests arrive at the 20,000-acre Sandringham estate from 23 December in order of precedence, with Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall usually the last to arrive.
On Christmas Eve when all the clan are together, the Queen's grandchildren and great-grandchildren put the finishing touches to the Christmas tree. Presents will be opened that day at tea time with gifts laid out in the Red Drawing Room on a trestle table. At 8pm on Christmas Eve, a candle-lit dinner is served with the ladies in gowns and jewels and the men in black tie. On the morning of 25 December, a full English breakfast is served, before everyone attends the traditional church service at St Mary's Magdalene.
The Queen usually invites close family to her Christmas celebrations
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