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Meghan Markle received rare honour before Kate Middleton during Christmas celebrations

Queen’s rest orders are a ‘bitter blow’ says expert

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Prince Harry, 37, and Meghan Markle, 40, announced their engagement in 2017 and the same year the couple decided to spend Christmas together to enjoy the festivities. While Meghan was allowed to be a part of the Christmas celebrations before the wedding, the Queen did not give Kate Middleton the same honour as the now Duchess of Cambridge was invited to Sandringham only after she had married Prince William.

Kate and Prince William tied the knot in 2011, but had been dating since meeting in university.

Bending the rules, the Queen gave Meghan the rare privilege of joining the royals for Christmas – even though she had not officially joined the firm through marriage.

She was pictured with the royals walking to church for their annual Christmas Day service along with her now brother and sister-in-law the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

Now it seems that the Queen is happy to carry on with tossing the tradition out the window as she had for Meghan.

In a similar incident, in 2019, Princess Beatrice’s then-fiance Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi was also at Sandringham for the festive holidays.

The pair didn’t wed until July 2020 when they had an intimate wedding attended by close family, including the Queen and the late Prince Philip, amid Covid lockdown restrictions.

Meanwhile, the Queen is said to have told her family she is well enough to host Christmas at Sandringham this year after recovering from a back sprain.

The monarch, 95, assured them she is feeling “far better” and is “looking forward” to the traditional festive get-together at her Norfolk estate.

Concerns have been raised over her health after she pulled out of a number of major engagements.

A source said: “The Queen has told everyone she is feeling far better of late and is very much looking forward to welcoming them for Christmas.

“Like many other families, this will be the first time Her Majesty can gather with her extended family after being kept apart for so long due to the coronavirus pandemic.”

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Christmas guests will include Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall as well as William, Kate and their three children.

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