Annual events always provide a solid anchor on the royal calendar to which we can look forward and the Christmas traditions are particularly festive. Each year the Queen hosts a luncheon at Buckingham Palace the week before the holiday, just before she and the Duke of Edinburgh leave London for the Sandringham estate in Norfolk. The entire Royal Family turns up for the meal, including Prince George and Princess Charlotte, so it provides a reliable moment at which we can see the children. Even more, it’s a moment when the RF is truly acting like a family in a way with which most of us can relate.
The downside is that the event is private, so the only images we have of it are the various cars driving through the Palace gates. Oh well, it’s a nice precursor to the walks to church the family will make next week.
The big-ticket moment was of course the inclusion of Prince Harry’s fiancée, Meghan Markle, for the first time. In previous years, Harry has ridden with the Cambridge family since they’re all based at Kensington Palace, so this was the first year he arrived separately – a nice visual representation of the new family he will be establishing when he and Meghan marry next year.
Meghan is wearing a dress from Self Portrait, a brand that Kate has favored a few times in the past. Her visible jewelry are Birks Snowflake Large Jacket earrings.
Kate is reportedly wearing a black Zara cape (with a faux fur collar) over the burgundy Goat dress she debuted in November. She also seems to be color-coordinating with Charlotte, who is wearing a burgundy bow in her hair. I know the Cambridges coordinate for their arrival and departures on tours – and apparently their Christmas card – but is this something they just…do?
Also out in full force today was the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall.
A few other notable attendees included:
- Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie, daughters of Andrew, Duke of York
- The Princess Royal and her husband, Timothy Laurence
- The Princess Royal’s son, Peter Phillips, with his wife and daughters
- The Countess of Wessex and her daughter, Lady Louise
- Lord Frederick Windsor with his wife and daughters
Additional members of the RF, such as the Kents, Gloucesters and other cousins can be seen here.
Missing from the bunch were the Queen’s two younger sons, the Duke of York and the Earl of Wessex, as well as the Queen’s youngest grandson, James, Viscount Severn. Nor was the Princess Royal’s daughter, Zara Tindall, seemingly there with her husband and daughter. At least…I haven’t seen any photos.
The Queen is expected to leave for Sandringham tomorrow, while William and Kate will travel to Anmer Hall in the next few days. KP has confirmed that they, as well as Harry and Meghan, will be in attendance for Christmas at Sandringham, with most believing that the newly engaged couple will stay at Anmer Hall and join the RF for specific events. Sandringham festivities go on between December 24-26, so who knows how long the younger royals will stay in Norfolk before returning to London. In previous years I would have guessed Kate might opt to stay with the children through the first week of January, but with George’s school schedule they might need to return to Kensington sooner than that.
Anyway, I’ll update the post as new photos or IDs for Kate’s clothes come in. In the meantime, we’ll have another historical post go up tomorrow and we’ll certainly cover the Christmas appearances next week.