Christmas can be a big deal for any family, but when your family is photographed, scrutinized, and oh yes, expected to follow a very particular protocol everywhere you go, it can take on a bit more significance.
So Meghan Markle's appearance with Prince Harry, along with Prince William and Kate Middleton (the Duchess of Cambridge), as well as the rest of the Royal Family, at St Mary Magdalene Church in Sandringham for the Christmas Day service was especially meaningful.
Traditionally, the royals spend Christmas Eve opening presents and receive stockings with small gifts and fruit on Christmas morning, reports the BBC. Markle's inclusion in this year's festivities is a departure from the usual rules, which Hello! Canada describes as a "no ring, no bring" policy. Apparently Prince Harry asked the Queen to make an exception for his betrothed.
Of course, we already knew this was happening, but knowing and seeing the picture of Markle expertly curtsying to the queen are two very different things.
Wearing a camel-coloured coat from Canadian brand Sentaler (also a favourite of Sophie Gregoire Trudeau), a festive Philip Treacy hat, Stuart Weitzman over-the-knee boots, earrings from Maison Birks and carrying a Chloe bag, Markle looked every inch the royal fiancee. Kate donned a warm-looking hat, black pumps and a tartan Miu Miu peacoat, a gorgeous cut that's a far cry from most maternity wear.
Queen Elizabeth II was no slouch in the fashion department either, choosing a bright orange wool coat and matching hat for the holiday.
This occasion also marked the first time Markle and Middleton have been photographed in public together, and it looks like the sister-in-laws-to-be are getting along swimmingly.
Prince Harry and the "Suits" actress made a point of walking around and greeting members of the public after the service, with one woman with whom she spoke, Judith Wallis, telling the Guardian she was "very, very lovely."
After the service, the family retired to a roast turkey and steamed fruit pudding lunch, reports People, before preparing to watch the Queen's Christmas message at 3 p.m., during which the monarch noted that she was looking forward to welcoming new members of the family next year — a likely reference to both Meghan and Prince William and Kate's third child, who is due in April.
Meghan and Prince Harry are set to be wed on May 19, 2018, a date possibly chosen both to give time to the Duchess and the new baby, and to ensure his grandfather, Prince Philip, 96, will be there in good health.
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