Prince Harry and Meghan Markle Will Not Be Together on Christmas Morning
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will celebrate their first Christmas together as a married couple and their last Christmas together before becoming parents. However, they will not spend the first part of Christmas morning together unless they break an archaic royal rule.
It is customary for families to be together on Christmas morning to exchange and open gifts. However, that is not the tradition for the royal family. They will open their presents on Christmas Eve and not on Christmas morning. Therefore, they do not have to rush downstairs to be together. In fact, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, as well as other married royal couples, do not spend the first hours of Christmas Day together. They do get together a little later in the day.
Rule Affects All the Royals
Royal butler and etiquette expert Grant Harrold said the separation of men and women on Christmas morning is an old tradition that the royal family has kept for years.
Former royal chef Darren McGrady explained what Christmas morning is like for the royal family. He said it is a tradition for all the female royals to be separated from the male royals. The females stay in their bedrooms and have breakfast delivered to them while the male royals will go downstairs to the dining room for a hearty breakfast at 8.30 a.m.
Even the meals are different for men and women. On Christmas morning, men are served a full course breakfast consisting of bacon, sausage, kippers, mushrooms, grilled kidneys, cereals, and juices. The royal women are served a much lighter breakfast that includes a boiled egg, half a grapefruit, toast, fruit, and coffee.
After their separate breakfasts, everyone gets ready for the first of two church services they will attend together.
Other Royal Christmas Rules
The entire royal family, with the exception of Prince William, Kate Middleton, and their three children, is expected to spend Christmas at Sandringham Estate in Norfolk. The Queen spends every Christmas there at her country home.
There is a set pattern of events and activities the family takes part in every year.
- Queen Elizabeth usually arrives anytime between December 17 and December 20 before everyone else to oversee the preparation for the holiday.
- The royal family celebrates Christmas over three consecutive days from December 24 through December 26.
- Guests are given different times to arrive on Christmas Eve.
- They have a formal dinner and family exchanges gag gifts on Christmas Eve.
- There are a series of events that take place on Christmas Day, including two church services, several meals and listening to Queen Elizabeth's annual speech.
- Everyone has to weigh in before Christmas dinner and again after dinner to assure that everyone has been well fed.
- The Queen and her husband Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, usually stay at Sandringham until the second week in February to honor the Queen's father, George VI, who died from lung cancer at Sandringham on February 6, 1952.
- Christmas decorations stay up until the Queen leaves the premises. In other words, she is the first one to arrive at Sandringham and the last one to depart.
Reasons This Christmas Will Be a Little Different
This year, Christmas will be a little different for the royal family. First of all, Prince William, Kate Middleton, and their three children will not be at Sandringham. They alternate where they will spend Christmas each year. This is the year to spend the day in Berkshire with Kate's parents.
Carole Middleton told the Sunday Telegraph's Stella magazine that she has already put individual fir trees in Prince George and Princess Charlotte's bedrooms at their family’s almost $6 million mansion for the children to decorate themselves.
The second reason Christmas will be slightly different is that for the first time Queen Elizabeth has invited a commoner to spend Christmas with the royal family. Meghan's mother, Doria Ragland has been invited to spend the holiday with her daughter and the rest of the royals.
Even though Meghan was a commoner last Christmas, she was engaged to marry Prince Harry. Queen Elizabeth made an exception for her to be there since she had no nearby relatives to spend the holiday with. She didn't officially become a royal until she married Prince Harry on May 19, 2018.
Last year, it was Meghan who attended the celebrations. This year, Meghan's mother has been added to the list. Next year, the child of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex will be the newest addition to the family.