Queen gave Meghan Markle special Christmas gift in royal tradition breach

The Queen broke royal tradition by granting Meghan Markle a special Christmas privilege

Queen gave Meghan Markle Christmas gift in tradition breach
(Image credit: Getty)

The Queen gave Meghan Markle a Christmas privilege that was not afforded to Kate Middleton in 2017, much to the surprise of royal fans. 

Her Majesty may be a stickler for tradition, but when it comes to the holidays, she's been known to bend the rules ever so slightly. 

The Queen allowed Meghan to join the Royal Family on Christmas Day in 2017—despite the fact she was not yet married to Prince Harry. The engaged couple stepped out together in public at the St Mary Magdalene Church for the festive occasion four years ago, in a move that appeared to boldly deviate from royal protocol. 

Her Majesty had historically only invited spouses to Sandringham House for the December celebrations but made a rare exception for her future granddaughter-in-law, who was over 5,000 miles away from her family in North America. 

"Attending as a fiancée is a first for the family,” a source told US Weekly at the time. “Given that Meghan doesn’t have family in the U.K., it’s only right that she spends Christmas with Harry and his.”

Meghan Markle Christmas 2017

Meghan Markle attends the Christmas church ceremony at Sandringham in 2017 

(Image credit: Getty)

This special privilege was not afforded to Kate Middleton, who had to wait until she was married to Prince William in 2011 to attend the exclusive celebrations. 

It's understood that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will not return to the UK this Christmas, marking their second year in a row away from the Royal Family. 

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, who welcomed their second child, Lilibet Diana, in June, have reportedly not made any plans to fly to Britain for the festive season—and with Covid travel restrictions threatening to increase, it looks unlikely they'll be changing their minds. The Queen's fragile condition after two months of poor health and the death of her husband, Prince Philip, has also shed doubt over the possibility of a blowout Christmas. 

BIRMINGHAM, UNITED KINGDOM - MARCH 08: (EMBARGOED FOR PUBLICATION IN UK NEWSPAPERS UNTIL 24 HOURS AFTER CREATE DATE AND TIME) Meghan Markle and Prince Harry depart after visiting Nechells Wellbeing Centre on March 8, 2018 in Birmingham, England. (Photo by Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)

(Image credit: Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)

Despite this, Her Majesty is said to be 'committed' to hosting the usual celebrations at her Norfolk country estate, where she traditionally stays over the winter break. The Queen spent last Christmas away from the Royal Family in Windsor Castle due to Covid concerns but is reportedly desperate to return to normal this year. 

Here's hoping she gets her wishes! 

Emma Dooney
Lifestyle News Writer

Hailing from the lovely city of Dublin, Emma mainly covers the Royal Family and the entertainment world, as well as the occasional health and wellness feature. Always up for a good conversation, she has a passion for interviewing everyone from A-list celebrities to the local GP - or just about anyone who will chat to her, really.

Emma holds an MA in International Journalism from City, University of London, and a BA in English Literature from Trinity College Dublin.