Meghan Markle will spend Christmas Day with Prince Harry and the royal family, breaking tradition and making history by becoming the first royal fiancée to celebrate the holiday with them.
Buckingham Palace has said Queen Elizabeth II and her family will join the congregation for a morning service at St Mary Magdalene Church at her private Sandringham estate in Norfolk on December 25.
“You can expect to see the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prince Harry and Ms. Markle at Sandringham on Christmas Day,” a Kensington Palace spokesman told reporters on Wednesday.
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Prince Harry, Meghan Markle, NottinghamJeremy Selwyn/Evening Standard/PA Wire
The decision to include Markle in royal Christmas festivities signals how well she has been welcomed into her fiancé’s family.
Kate Middleton, aka Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, only spent the holidays with the royal family after her 2011 wedding to Prince William.
Harry and Meghan announced their engagement on November 27. They later appeared in a BBC interview, during which they revealed that she has met the queen and other royal family members. Meghan called her an “incredible woman.”
“It’s incredible, I think, you know, a) to be able to meet her through his lens, not just with his honor and respect for her as the monarch, but the love that he has for her as his grandmother,” Meghan said. “All of those layers have been so important for me so that when I met her I had such a deep understanding and of course incredible respect for being able to have that time with her.”
Earlier this month, the Sunday Times had reported that Meghan, who is the first mixed-race American divorcée to marry into the royal family, will join Harry’s loved ones a from Christmas Eve until Boxing Day. Kensington Palace has not confirmed this.
“Now they are engaged it was unthinkable that they would be apart for Christmas,” a friend of Harry’s told the newspaper. “The royal family have fully welcomed Meghan into the fold.”
The Sunday Times also said that in the new year, Harry and Meghan plan on vacationing abroad, including in California, where they will reportedly join her mother Doria Ragland. Kensington Palace has not commented.