Meghan Markle and Prince Harry are no strangers to forging their own paths as members of the British royal family, even if that includes breaking royal traditions. This year they will reportedly celebrate Christmas in the USA with their seven-month-old son Archie and Meghan’s mother Doria Ragland who lives in California. By doing so, the couple will break a number of Royal traditions observed on Christmas, which the family follows every year.
They won’t attend church with Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip
As a Christmas tradition, every year Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip, along with other members of the Royal family, are photographed walking to St. Mary Magdalene church, close to the Queen’s Sandringham Estate, for the annual Christmas Day service. Meghan and Prince Harry, thus, may not be a part of the Church visit if they ultimately end up celebrating Christmas in the US.
Harry and Meghan won’t exchange gifts over afternoon tea on Christmas Eve with the rest of the family
Meghan and Prince Harry will also miss the session on Christmas Eve where members of the Royal family exchange gifts during the afternoon tea. Grant Harrold, former butler of Prince Charles, told Insider that the royal family had a set time schedule when it came to giving and receiving Christmas gifts. “The Queen arrives a few days before everyone else, like any good hostess, to ensure everything is ready,” Harrold said while speaking about this tradition. “Then most of the royals will arrive on Christmas Eve. They will have afternoon tea, which is traditionally held between 4 pm and 6 pm, where they will exchange gifts,” Harrold added.
The former butler also disclosed that most of the gifts weren’t meant to be taken seriously. The former butler said he had heard (though not personally witnessed) that the family “tend to give each other humorous gifts. What do you give people who have everything?” he added.
It won’t be a black-tie affair this year
Another Royal tradition that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex will not be a part of is the Christmas Eve dinner and drinks party at St. James’s Palace, which is a black-tie event, according to Pop Sugar. This party is a strictly private affair, as per a report in Insider. However, the palace staff also attend the do, and interact with the Queen and other members of the Royal family. It is a traditional event where palace staff got to mingle with the Queen, Prince Charles, and other members of the royal family.
“I was able to see Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall and exchange a few words,” Harrold said. “Princes Harry and William were there as well.” He added: “During the first [party] I got to sit down and have lunch with Prince William. Not many people can say they had a meal with the future king.”
It is not known whether the duke and duchess plan to host a different party for staff at their Frogmore Cottage base in Windsor.
They most likely won’t have a royal chef to cook Christmas dinner
The Queen’s personal chef cooks dinner for the family every year, and her former chef Darren McGrady once shared the meals served to them during previous years. “It was the same meal every year,” McGrady told Hello Online. “They’re actually boring when it comes to festivities! They didn’t do hams or anything, just traditional turkeys. We did three turkeys for the Queen and her family in the royal dining room, one for the children’s nursery and then more for the 100 or so staff, so everyone had a Christmas lunch.”
It’s unlikely that Harry and Markle would have a royal chef to cook Christmas dinner for them in Los Angeles. Markle, however, once shared her favorite festive recipes that she made herself — including her own almond-milk spiced holiday cocktail and maple-glazed potato wedges — so she probably has it covered.
There is a tradition the couple could keep, however, even all the way from the US
One tradition the couple could easily keep up from overseas is the annual royal Christmas card. This is a tradition that was started by Queen Victoria, according to Harrold, who says the monarch would send cards with portraits of her family on the front of them.
Queen Elizabeth II sends 750 Christmas cards a year, according to the royal family’s official website.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex shared their first joint Christmas card last year, which featured an elegant black-and-white photo from their wedding day.