Meghan Markle is set to join the Royal Family for their traditional pre-Christmas lunch at Buckingham Palace, according to reports. This will be her first official visit to the Queen’s official residence.
A source told the Express that “If Meghan is in the country then she will be at the lunch.”
The lunch is usually held a week before Christmas at Buckingham Palace for members of the extended family who don’t attend the festivities at Sandringham on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
The source continued: “Now Meghan is engaged to Harry, she’s already considered part of the family.”
“Plus, it provides the perfect opportunity for her to meet some of the Prince’s extended family, especially as she was not at the Queen and Prince Philip’s 70th anniversary dinner last month.”
It was announced shortly after Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s engagement that Meghan will join the Queen and Royal Family at Sandringham for Christmas, when previously protocol dictated that only husbands and wives – no ring, no bring – were able to attend.
The Duchess of Cambridge didn’t attend Christmas celebrations in 2010 after her engagement to Prince William was announced, though Prince William himself was absent due to work at RAF Valley in Anglesey.
Richard Fitzwilliam, again speaking to the Express, said that because Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are already living together, and because Meghan is from the United States – and would be away from her family in a foreign country – that an exception was likely made by the Queen.
“The monarchy relies heavily on precedent and tradition but it also makes its own.”
The pre-Christmas lunch is attended by up to 50 members of the Royal Family, with only the senior members of the Royal Family spending Christmas at Sandringham.
The Royal Family will exchange presents on Christmas Eve, then attend a morning service at the St Mary Magdalene Church just off the Sandringham Estate Christmas morning. In the afternoon, the Queen’s annual Christmas message is broadcast across the Commonwealth.