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Meghan Markle and Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi enjoyed this rare privilege before marrying into the royal family

It was seen as a break from royal tradition

It's always a highlight when any new member of the royal family makes their debut on the walk to church for the Christmas Day service in Sandringham.

Traditionally, the Queen invites partners once they are married, with the Duchess of Cambridge and Mike Tindall making their first appearances in 2011 following their spring and summer nuptials.

But in a break from tradition, both Meghan Markle and Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi were invited to spend the festive season with the royals before their respective marriages.

READ: Royal wives and husbands' first Christmas at Sandringham in photos

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WATCH: Meghan Markle's first Christmas with the royal family

The future Duchess of Sussex surprised royal fans as she made her debut at Sandringham in 2017, five months before she and Prince Harry tied the knot in Windsor. The newly-engaged couple walked alongside the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, earning them the nickname, the "Fab Four".

Meghan looked elegant in a camel Sentaler coat with Stuart Weitzman boots, accessorising with a bespoke Philip Treacy hat and the Chloe Pixie bag.

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Meghan joined the royals in Sandringham in 2017

Meanwhile, property developer Edoardo proposed to Princess Beatrice in September 2019 and spent Christmas with the royal family that December.

After their May 2020 wedding was postponed due to the pandemic, the couple tied the knot in an intimate ceremony at the Royal Chapel of All Saints in Windsor in July 2020. The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh were among the guests.

MORE: Zara Tindall, Meghan Markle, Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie to mark special milestone in December

MORE: Kate Middleton to host Christmas carol service at Westminster Abbey

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Princess Beatrice and Edoardo walked to church in 2019

The monarch will mark her first Christmas without her beloved husband this year following Prince Philip's death in April. Buckingham Palace is yet to confirm the Queen's plans for the festive period, but she will reportedly host her family members at her Norfolk estate.

Last year, like thousands of families across the UK, the royals celebrated Christmas separately due to the pandemic, with the Queen and the Duke staying at Windsor Castle for the first time in 33 years.

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