Home / NEWS / Meghan Markle joins Royal family for Christmas Day church service at Sandringham

Meghan Markle joins Royal family for Christmas Day church service at Sandringham

Meghan Markle has joined the Royal family for their traditional Christmas Day service at the Queen’s Sandringham estate in a break with tradition.

Wearing a light brown coat and brown hat, boots and bag, Ms Markle walked arm-in-arm with fiance Prince Harry 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 arrived in a car and joined the group from the house which also included the Duke of Edinburgh and the Prince of Wales.

Hundreds of well-wishers turned out to catch a glimpse of the royal family, with some calling out “Merry Christmas” as they walked past.

The Duke of Edinburgh leads the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle as they arrive for church

Credit:
Andrew Parsons / i-Images 

Meghan Markle walked arm-in-arm with fiance Prince Harry as they arrived at St Mary Magdalene Church

Credit:
Chris Jackson /Getty

Meghan Markle smiles as Prince Harry points to a well-wisher in the crowd at Sandringham

Credit:
Joe Giddens /PA

As they made the return journey to Sandringham House after the service was over, Ms Markle 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 neighbouring Park House Hotel on her first Christmas Day visit to Sandringham.

She said Harry recognised her teddy bear called Maureen, which is a mascot for Armed Forces charity SSAFA, and her hat which bore the Gurkha regiment emblem.

She said Ms Markle spoke to them too. “She said lots of things,” said Ms Wallis, who is in her 70s and from Chesterfield. She was very, very lovely.”

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are joined by Meghan Markle and Prince Harry at Sandringham

Credit:
Andrew Parsons / i-Images 

Tess Gilder, manager of Park House, which describes itself as a unique hotel for disabled people, was with Ms Wallis. She said of Ms Markle: “She was just so natural, so lovely.”

Ms Gilder added: “I think they just wished us a Happy Christmas and were interested in whether we had been before.”

Emily Randall, 31, was first in the queue to get into the area by the church with her boyfriend Jamie Mackay, 42.

The Queen at St Mary Magdalene Church on Christmas morning

Credit:
Andrew Parsons / i-Images 

Ms Randall said they set out from Chichester in Sussex before 10pm on Christmas Eve and arrived at Sandringham around 2am.

“We thought it would be really busy,” she said. “We looked online. We were the first ones here camping in the dark for two hours.”

She said they had missed the Queen when she visited Chichester, so decided to make the trip to Sandringham.

Sophie, Countess of Wessex arrives for the church service

Credit:
Chris Jackson /Getty

It is the first time Prince Harry has been joined by a partner at the event, with convention relaxed to allow Ms Markle to attend alongside him.

The Duke of Edinburgh and the Prince of Wales were among the first members of the Royal family to be pictured arriving for the early-morning church service at St Mary Magdalene Church.

The Duke of Edinburgh and Princess Eugenie arrive for church

Credit:
Joe Giddens /PA

Autumn Phillips, Peter Phillips and Sir Timothy Laurence on Christmas morning

Credit:
Joe Giddens /PA

The Duchess of Cornwall, the Prince of Wales and Lady Sarah Chatto arrive for church

Credit:
Joe Giddens /PA

Couple get engaged live on TV while waiting to catch a glimpse of Meghan

One Royal family fan received an unexpected Christmas surprise as her boyfriend proposed to her live on Sky News while they queued to catch a glimpse of Meghan Markle.

American couple Mike Metz and Ashley Millican, both aged 20 and visiting their UK-based relative from Wisconsin, were waiting to see the Queen, Prince Harry and his fiancee attend St Mary Magdalene Church.

Asked by Sky News royal correspondent Rhiannon Mills why it was so important for them to come and see the royals on Christmas morning, Mr Metz got on one knee and said: “I want to spend the rest of my Christmases with you Ashley, so I don’t know if you want to marry me?”

Putting her hand to her mouth and fighting back tears, she replied: “Yes. Oh my God.”

Taking the ring from the little white box and weeping, she said: “Yes, yes, yes.”

Mills, who had been tipped off about the proposal, asked how them both how they were feeling, to which Mr Metz said: “I’m feeling great, excited.”

Ashley, who said she was not expecting it, replied: “Good, it’s my grandmother’s ring, it’s very pretty.”

Michael Metz asked Ashley Millican to marry him as they visited the Queen’s Sandringham estate

Credit:
Sam Russell /PA

Presenter Kay Burley, in the studio, said: “Unbelievable, fantastic and thank goodness she said ‘yes’.”

Mr Metz said the couple planned to tie the knot in around 18 months’ time and would “absolutely” watch the royal wedding.

Burley ended the item saying: “That’s amazing, and thank goodness she had her nails done as well.”

Miss Millican, from Texas, said the proposal came as a complete surprise.

“I had no idea,” she said, adding: “I was definitely very surprised. I never thought he would ask me right before we were about to see the Royal Family for the first time. It was a big surprise.”

She said she did not hesitate to say yes.

It is her first holiday outside America and she said they had a two-week trip planned in which they would visit London.

Mr Metz, of Wisconsin, said he started to plan the proposal in August, asked Miss Millican’s parents in September and was nervous ahead of the day.

“It was pretty tough to keep secret as I was so excited,” he said. He added: “It’s memories to cherish forever.”

Queen and Duke in good spirits on Christmas Eve

The Queen and Duke both appeared in good spirits and health on Christmas Eve, greeting well-wishers as they attended a carol service at the church.

The Queen leaves a morning church service at St Mary Magdalene Church in Sandringham on Christmas Eve

Credit:
Joe Giddens /PA

The Duke of Edinburgh and the Duke of York on Christmas Eve

Credit:
Joe Giddens /PA

Queen’s Christmas message praise’s Duke’s ‘unique sense of humour’

Later, the Monarch will use her Christmas message this year to pay a rare public tribute to the Duke of Edinburgh, praising his “unique sense of humour” in the year of their 70th anniversary.

This year’s Christmas message will be broadcast on television, radio and the Royal Family’s YouTube channel at 3pm on Christmas Day.

Ms Markle and Prince Harry got engaged on November 27 and a few days later a proud Harry introduced his bride-to-be to the nation during a series of official events in Nottingham.

Meghan Markle and fiance Prince Harry, pictured in one of their engagement portraits, will be seen in public with other royals at the traditional Christmas Day church service

Credit:
Alexi Lubomirski/Kensington Palace

Christmas at Sandringham is likely to be the first of many for the American actress, who will wed Harry in St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle on Saturday, May 19.

‘All the stars were aligned’: How the couple met

After announcing their engagement, the couple gave an insight into their 16-month romance in a BBC interview – and described how they met on a blind date set up by a mutual friend.

Ms Markle told how she could not wait to say “yes” to the prince when Harry got down on one knee a few weeks ago as they cooked a roast chicken dinner at his home, Nottingham Cottage at Kensington Palace.

Indicating the depths of his feeling for his bride-to-be, Prince Harry said: “The fact that I fell in love with Meghan so incredibly quickly was sort of confirmation to me that everything, all the stars were aligned, everything was just perfect.

“It was this beautiful woman just sort of literally tripped and fell into my life, I fell into her life.” 

Full interview: Harry and Meghan reveal engagement joy

A few months into the relationship, Harry said he had to have “some pretty frank conversations” with Meghan about how her life may change when she entered the royal family.

He added: “But I know that at the end of the day she chooses me, and I choose her, and therefore whatever we have to tackle together or individually we’ll always be us together as a team, so I think she’s capable… she’s capable of anything.”

The couple disclosed that Ms Markle had met the Queen twice, an individual she described as an “incredible woman”.

The former Suits star was also a big hit with the Queen’s beloved corgis, with the prince joking: “I’ve spent the last 33 years being barked at; this one walks in, absolutely nothing…”

Traditions of a Royal Christmas at Sandringham

The traditions and customs followed by the royal family at Christmas are likely to come as a surprise to Meghan Markle.

While most people across the country open their presents on Christmas Day, the royal family still keep to the German practice of opening their gifts on Christmas Eve.

The Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh and other royals usually congregate in the White Drawing Room at Sandringham House the day before Christmas to put the finishing touches to a 20ft (6m) tree cut from the estate.

Presents are placed on a white linen-covered trestle table, with cards marking exactly where the piles of gifts should be put.

Gifts are exchanged on Christmas Eve at Sandringham

And what should Ms Markle buy the woman who is head of state and lives in palaces? Something useful as the Queen apparently likes practical presents, but not overly extravagant ones.

The Duchess of Cambridge revealed that she was left stumped over what to buy the Queen for Christmas.

“I thought ‘I’ll make her something’. Which could have gone horribly wrong. But I decided to make my granny’s recipe of chutney.”

Prince Charles and his wife Camilla lead members of the Royal family as they attend the Christmas Day church service last year

Credit:
PHIL NOBLE /Reuters

At 5pm, guests enjoy tea, scones, sandwiches and cakes from sideboards in the Saloon. Afterwards, they dress for dinner, with the table set with the finest china.

Ms Markle will be separated from Harry later in the evening as, sometime after 10pm, on a signal from the Queen, the corgis are led out and the ladies adjourn, leaving the Duke of Edinburgh to serve port or brandy to the men.

On Christmas Day, the royals awake to find stockings filled with small gifts and fruit at the foot of their beds.

Their appearance at St Mary Magdalene Church’s morning service on the royal estate is a traditional event where they meet well-wishers.

Back at the house, lunch is served at 1pm and they indulge in a giant turkey, reared at Sandringham.

They then settle down to watch TV, including – most importantly – the Queen’s Christmas Speech.

Article Source : http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/12/25/meghan-markle-join-royal-family-sandringham-christmas-morning/

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