Everyone’s getting into the holiday spirit and many of us are in the middle of stressing out, planning out, or have ironed out things. No matter which holidays you celebrate this time of year, there’s usually something to look forward to.
Folks are preparing to roll out their traditions, and the royal family is no exception. But this year, it looks like they may be doing something new. Each year, the Queen hosts a celebration at the Sandringham estate, a private residence in Norfolk. The family gathers there with her on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
Media outlets in England reported that Meghan Markle joined the family there this year for the festivities. You may be thinking, “Oh that’s nice, but what’s the big deal?”
In the past, only close family members and spouses of the royals were invited to Sandringham. And, they had to show up. When Princess Diana was still married to Prince Charles, she wasn’t permitted to spend the Christmas holiday with her side of the family, the Spencers.
Things started to change with Prince William and his wife, Kate. Though the duchess wasn’t invited to spend Christmas with the royal family following their engagement, once they were married, she was able to attend. But, the couple has also switched things up and alternate between his family and hers during Christmas.
However, Kate’s family is in the UK, whereas Meghan’s is not. Since she and Prince Harry are living together in London and she has no familial ties in the country, it’s no suprise that she was invited to Sandringham this year.
Following their exciting engagement news, spending the entire holiday with the Queen and the rest of the royals was a huge tradition-breaker for the family. And there are many things that goes on. Christmas Eve activities typically include games, afternoon tea, and a formal dinner. When things begin to wind down, it’s the royal family’s tradition to open gifts on Christmas Eve.
On Christmas morning, everyone – except the Queen – walks to St. Mary Magdalene Church for the morning service. The Queen gets driven. They return home, change clothes, and head back to the church for an afternoon service with members of the public.
A Christmas lunch with a large spread is eaten later in the day with extended members of the family. By nightfall, there is lots of relaxing which includes movies, popcorn, and cakes.
Boxing Day is also celebrated by the royal family where Prince Philip holds an annual pheasant shoot. While some members of the family head off to visit other loved ones that day, some stay. Meghan was invited to participate in most of the activities, but she and the prince did plan to spend some time away after Christmas.
This year, Meghan was also invited to stay with her future in-laws, William and Kate, in the days leading up to Christmas. She and Prince Harry even got to spend time little Charlotte and George. Click on the video below to hear more about this major event and possible tradition changeup.
Do you think it’s strange that Meghan spent the entire Christmas holiday with the royal family? What do you think of the royals’ Christmas traditions?