The holidays are right around the corner, which means it's time for the British Royal Family to begin their festive traditions. On Wednesday, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle arrived at Queen Elizabeth II's Christmas lunch held at Buckingham Palace. It is an annual event, which the Queen puts on as a special holiday celebration before the actual big day on Dec. 25. Of course, there are plenty of photos capturing Harry and Markle's arrival.
As you can see below, the photos show that Markle will rarely ever be able to escape the spotlight now that she is set to wed Harry on May 19. There are so many pictures of Harry driving with Markle in the passenger seat. The photogs even took the liberty of zooming in on her face and her engagement ring. This is to be expected and is in line with what happens anytime the royal family does pretty much anything.
When you decide to marry a prince, let alone Prince Harry, well, your life changes drastically. So much so, that Markle will never have a so-called normal Christmas ever again. She won't ever spend it like she did in the past, but will have all eyes focused on what she and Harry are doing during the holidays. She's absolutely in the thick of it all now.
The massive change and all of the publicity she's receiving is something Markle embraced once she began dating Harry. She talked about falling in love with a royal during their first joint interview with the BBC after they announced their engagement in November. Admittedly, Markle said she didn't expect for this kind of reaction upon dating Harry. She explained, "I think I can very safely say, as naive as it sounds now, having gone through this learning curve in the past year and a half, I did not have any understanding of just what it would be like."
When it comes to her new way of life, Harry said he made sure to sit down with Markle and explain how big of a change marrying him will actually be. He said he told her, "What you're letting yourself in for, it's a big deal. It's not easy for anybody." But, it seems like she's accepting it with open arms. After being asked about "giving up" her acting career for a royal life, Markle told the BBC, "I don't see it as giving anything up, I just see it as a change. It's a new chapter."
Well, she certainly is starting the next chapter her life in a royally fantastic way. According to Us Weekly, the newly engaged couple were joined by "more than two dozen members of the royal family." Prince William, Kate Middleton, Prince George, Princess Charlotte, Prince Charles, and Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, all showed up, too.
This, apparently, was an opportunity for the 36-year-old former Suits star to meet members of Harry's family she hadn't yet come into contact with. According to the Daily Mail, there were many extended family members in attendance, including, Princess Eugenie, Princess Beatrice, Princess Anne, Prince Michael of Kent, Lord Frederick of Windsor, Lady Amelia of Windsor, George Windsor, Earl of St. Andrews, among many others.
As reported by the Daily Mail, "The Queen's annual pre-Christmas lunch is a royal tradition and allows the monarch to catch up with more distant relations." They also partake in a three-course lunch and then leave in the late afternoon.
According to People, this was reportedly Markle's first time eating at Buckingham Palace with the entire family present, in addition to meeting Harry's extended family for the first time. The outlet also reports that Markle and Harry attended a private party for Windsor Castle staff. "It was a good opportunity for her to get to know the close part of the family as it were," a family friend told People.
This year's Christmas is already a big deal for Markle, and not just because she is meeting much of the royal family. She will participate in the family's annual Christmas Eve and Day traditions at Sandringham, the Queen's private estate. "You can expect to see the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prince Harry and Ms. Markle at Sandringham on Christmas Day," a Kensington Palace spokesman told CNN in December.
Harry and Markle spending Christmas together is huge, because, as reported by People, she "the first royal fiancée to spend Christmas day with the royal family". Royal historian Kate Williams chatted with BBC about the decision and said, "What that shows is firstly how serious Harry is about her… but also how determined she is to make her life in Britain now."
There's no doubt they are a modern royal couple. It's also wonderful to see Markle and Harry able to celebrate the holidays not only together, but with family. That's what makes Christmas so special.