Meghan Markle was invited to join the Queen's Christmas celebrations at Sandringham before she married Prince Harry, a privilege no other royal spouse – not even Kate Middleton – had been offered at the time.
The Duchess of Sussex spent her first Christmas in Sandringham in 2017, as handsome Harry's fiancée five months before the couple tied the knot.
Until that point, only members of the royal family and their spouses had been invited to stay at Sandringham House over Christmas, reports Showbiz CheatSheet.
In fact, Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge was asked not to come to the festivities while she and Prince William were dating, and only joined in on the party after they got married.
Speaking at the time about how Meghan handled her first royal Christmas, the Telegraph reports that Prince Harry said that it was "fantastic" and that Meghan "really enjoyed it", adding: "It’s the family that, I suppose, she’s never had".
"The family loved having her there and you know, there is always that family part of Christmas, there is always that work element as well.
"Together we had an amazing time, we had great fun staying with my brother and sister In law and running round with the kids. Christmas was fantastic. We are really looking forward to new year and looking forward to 2018."
Since Meghan's first royal Christmas, she and Harry quit the Royal Family and moved to California. However, since her invitation, the Queen has relaxed her rules on who can attend Sandringham festivities.
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In 2019, the Daily Mail reports Princess Beatrice’s then-fiancé Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi was a guest at Sandringham, and Kate’s parents, Michael and Carole Middleton, have received invites to the festivities in past years too.
Although this year's celebrations at the Queen's Norfolk estate have been cancelled for the second time due to the pandemic, the royal family have celebrated Christmas in Sandringham since 1988 and have their own set of festive traditions, reports Norfolk Live.
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The Queen usually travels by train to her country estate where the adults are treated to a black-tie Christmas eve feast once the children have been put to bed.
Presents are given on Christmas eve as well, and Sandringham staff -all 1,500 of them – receive a pudding from the Queen and her family.
Onn the day, the royals mark Christmas by going to the 11am service at St Mary Magdalene Church, and often enjoy a game of charades after a traditional festive lunch.
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