Meghan Markle stole the show when she joined the royal family for their traditional Christmas Day outing to church on the queen’s Sandringham estate.
Prince Harry’s office at Kensington Palace made the unprecedented decision to announce in advance that Meghan would be at Sandringham today.
It is the first time an unmarried partner of a senior royal has been invited to publicly join the celebrations. No such invitation was extended to Kate Middleton when she was engaged to William.
Markle walked arm-in-arm with her fiancé as they made the short journey from Sandringham House to St Mary Magdalene church. She seemed at ease as they smiled and chatted as they walked alongside William and Kate, who is pregnant with her third child.
The queen, who missed the service last year due to ill-health, arrived by car car and joined the group of walkers, which also included the Duke of Edinburgh and the Prince of Wales.
Hundreds of well-wishers turned out to catch a glimpse of the royals, with some calling out, “Merry Christmas” as they walked past.
After the service, Harry and Meghan walked back to Sandringham House with the rest of the family. They will be joining the queen for lunch, but are expected to stay at William and Kate’s house nearby.
Meghan and Harry stopped to chat to some of the crowd who turned out in mild conditions. Among them was Judith Wallis, who was sitting in a wheelchair and is staying at the neighboring Park House Hotel on her first Christmas Day visit to Sandringham.
“She said lots of things,” Wallis, who is in her seventies and from Chesterfield, told The Guardian. “She was very, very lovely.”
Tess Gilder, the manager of Park House, which describes itself as a unique hotel for disabled people, was with Wallis. She said of Markle: “She was just so natural, so lovely. I think they just wished us a happy Christmas and were interested in whether we had been before.”