Queen Elizabeth II granted an unusual exemption for Meghan Markle, who will become the Duchess of Sussex.
It was a big step when Meghan Markle was asked to spend Christmas with the royal family in December 2017, a month after it was revealed she was engaged to Prince Harry. She was asked to attend the festivities earlier than past royal partners had. Richard Kay, a royal scholar, and journalist, referred to Queen Elizabeth II’s exceptional exception for the future Duchess of Sussex as a “baptism of fire.” They noted that it was a “rare exception being made.”
“Kate Middleton was not invited as William’s girlfriend to spend Christmas at Sandringham with the royals, but here was Meghan doing just that,” said Richard Kay. Meghan Markle utilized the opportunity to win over the royal family, according to former BBC royal correspondent Jennie Bond: “I’m sure it was pretty daunting for Megan to rock up at Sandringham for Christmas with the Queen. What do you give the Queen? What do you give your prospective father-in-law, Charles? It must have been very difficult.”
However, when it came to the key challenge of gift-giving, Meghan Markle “played a blinder.”
Royal journalist Simon Vigar stated, “Meghan played a blinder on her first Christmas. She got a toy — a singing hamster — for the Queen, and apparently she loved it…and so did the corgis.”