Things have been moving at lightning speed for Meghan Markle ever since the royal family announced her engagement to Prince Harry in late November. The couple did their first joint interview on the day of the announcement, attended their first royal engagement a few days later, and have set a wedding date for May of next year. They’ll mark another major milestone later this month, too, when the Suits star joins the royals for Christmas.
Kensington Palace confirmed that Markle will join her fiancé, along with Prince William, Duchess Kate, Queen Elizabeth II, and other members of the royal family, at Sandringham this year. This goes against a long-held tradition that prevents anyone outside of the family from partaking in the super-exclusive celebration. According to reports, Markle will be the first fiancée to spend time with the senior royals over the holidays.
Usually, unmarried pairs wait until after the wedding to step into official royal life. Even Kate Middleton and Prince William spent Christmas apart in 2010, despite announcing their engagement a month earlier in November. However, with Harry and Markle already taking on public engagements together on behalf of the family, it looks like the usual rules are being swept aside.
Some have speculated that the actress received an invitation this year because of the Queen’s well-known affection for her younger grandson. It’s also possible that it has to do with Markle not having any family in London (whereas Duchess Kate had her parents and siblings nearby).
While the palace has not released any specific information on where the pair will be staying, William and Kate are expected to host Harry and his fiancée at Anmer Hall, which is on the Queen’s estate about 110 miles north of London. This may mean that they’ll spend Christmas morning with Prince George and Princess Charlotte. As per tradition, they’ll also attend a Christmas Day church service.
Before that, though, the family will gather to exchange gifts on Christmas Eve at Sandringham House, the Queen’s country home. We have to wonder what kind of gift the newest almost-member of the family will give the reigning monarch. Talk about pressure!
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(photos via Chris Jackson/Getty Images)