Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex, will have a very merry Christmas, thanks to Queen Elizabeth II: According to the Daily Mail, the queen has personally invited Meghan’s mother, Doria Ragland, to join the royal family for their traditional holiday celebrations in Sandringham.
According to a source, the invitation is a “mark of [the queen’s] respect” for Markle, who is expecting her first child with husband Prince Harry sometime in the spring. Furthermore, she likely extended the invite to Ragland as Markle has no other family in the country. (The palace declined to comment to the Mail about the invitation.)
Though it might seem normal to invite in-laws over for the holidays, the Mail explained, the invitation for Ragland would indeed be a break with royal protocol as nonroyals typically don’t spend the night at the family’s Norfolk estate. Though the parents of Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge, have attended Christmas mass with the royal family before, they have never stayed at Sandringham. Instead, they typically stay at the nearby Anmer Hall.
But, really, it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that the royal family would invite Ragland over for the holidays. After all, the Windsors seemed to welcome her with open arms for Meghan and Harry’s wedding in May.
As for what the group will get up to during the holiday season, People explained, the royals are really just like us. Each year the family kicks things off with a gift exchange. But it’s not just any exchange: Instead the family gives the silliest, most over-the-top and inappropriate gifts possible (Kate reportedly gave Harry a plastic Grow Your Own Girlfriend kit a few Christmases ago). Next the family heads outside for a quick game of soccer, followed by a hearty dinner, which consists of “something festive, some game, like pheasant or venison, and roasted wintry vegetables, like parsnips,” according to chef Darren McGrady, who worked for the Windsors for more than a decade.
Sure, they’ll be doing this all in a centuries-old estate, surrounded by staff and security, but hey, stars are just like us, right?