Harry and Meghan: What happens at Christmas with the royals?

Prince Harry and Meghan MarkleImage copyrightGetty Images
Image caption It’s been announced that Meghan Markle will spend Christmas at Sandringham

Do you agonise about what to get your partner’s family for Christmas?

Perhaps you worry that you won’t know their traditions or they won’t like your signature gravy.

These are the run-of the mill anxieties of the holidays. But what happens when your new family includes the Queen and several heirs to the throne?

Harry and Meghan: What happens at Christmas with the royals?
Harry and Meghan: What happens at Christmas with the royals?

Here we let Meghan Markle know what to expect from a Christmas at Sandringham.

Celebrations on Christmas Eve

In keeping with their German heritage, the Royal Family start their festive celebrations on Christmas Eve.

They meet in the White Drawing Room at Sandringham, the Queen’s residence in Norfolk, to exchange presents and finish decorating their 20ft tree.

There they enjoy a tea of scones, sandwiches and cakes before retiring to dress for a formal dinner.

Celebrations continue until late and in the morning, each royal wakes to a stocking of small gifts and fruit at the end of their beds.

The family then make their traditional appearance at the morning service at St Mary Magdalene Church in the village of Sandringham – all being well, everyone will make it, but last year the Queen missed out because of a heavy cold.

After the service, members of the Royal Family usually spend some time meeting well-wishers gathered outside the chapel, before returning to the estate for a traditional turkey lunch.

Then, like millions up and down the country, the family settle down to watch television.

What to get the Queen for Christmas?

We all know someone who appears to have everything, but the Queen has several palaces to her name.

Luckily for her family, she is said to prefer practical gifts over anything extravagant.

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Media captionThe Queen missed the 2016 Christmas service due to a cold

Last Christmas, the Duchess of Cambridge expressed her anxiety about what to buy her grandmother-in-law.

“I thought ‘I’ll make her something,'” she said, “which could have gone horribly wrong.”

“But I decided to make my granny’s recipe of chutney.

“I was slightly worried about it, but I noticed the next day that it was on the table.”

What should Meghan look out for?

There will be a couple of unusual moments for Ms Markle this Christmas.

Before gifts are given on Christmas Eve, they are placed on a white linen-covered trestle table, with cards marking exactly where each person’s should go.

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And at the dinner, Ms Markle will be separated from Prince Harry when, sometime after 10pm, the Queen signals for the corgis to be led out and the ladies to adjourn, leaving the Duke of Edinburgh to serve port or brandy to the men.

Finally, like the rest of the country Ms Markle will relax on Christmas afternoon by watching the Queen’s Speech.

Unlike the rest of the country, though, she’ll be watching it with the Queen herself.

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