How Meghan Markle Is Spending Her First Christmas as a Royal

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry leave the queen's Christmas lunch at Buckingham Palace.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle leave the queen's Christmas lunch at Buckingham Palace on Dec. 19.Aaron Chown/PA Images via Getty Images

The Duchess of Sussex will enjoy many royal traditions while staying at the queen's country estate.

It's her first Christmas as part of the royal family, so how will Meghan Markle be spending the holidays this year?

The Duchess of Sussex, who married Prince Harry in May, will enjoy many royal traditions as she stays at Sandringham House, the queen’s country estate in Norfolk, England. In what was a break from royal tradition, Meghan also stayed there last year, even though she was not married to Prince Harry at the time.

Each year, the queen and her husband, Prince Philip, invite their four children, Prince Andrew, Prince Charles, Prince Edward and Princess Anne, and their families. Among them are Prince William, his wife Kate Middleton, and their children, 5-year-old Prince George, 3-year-old Princess Charlotte and 7-month-old Prince Louis.

The guests arrive on Christmas Eve and exchange gifts. Last year, Meghan reportedly gave the queen a singing hamster, which follows tradition of the royal family giving each other gag gifts for Christmas. The queen purportedly approved, laughing when she opened it.

On Christmas Day, the family attends the morning service at St. Mary Magdalene Church in Sandringham before meeting members of the congregation.

They then return to Sandringham for Christmas lunch. According to former royal chef Darren McGrady, the family usually feasts on “salad with shrimp or lobster, and a roasted turkey, and all of your traditional side dishes like parsnips, carrots, Brussels sprouts and Christmas pudding with brandy butter for dessert,” he told Marie Claire.

After the feast, they watch the queen’s annual address to the nation at 3 p.m. and enjoy some fruitcake before later gathering for a “buffet dinner with 15-20 different items,” McGrady said.

On Dec. 26, Boxing Day, the royal family takes part in a pheasant shoot at Sandringham.

Meghan’s mother, Doria Ragland, will not be joining the royals for Christmas, according to reports. She was pictured leaving a studio in Los Angeles, where she teaches yoga, over the weekend.

Meghan is pregnant with her first child, who is due in the spring.