Royals | Celebrity

Meghan Markle's Mom Just Got A Very Special Perk From The Queen

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Last year, in an unexpected move by the Queen, Meghan Markle was invited to join members of the royal family in celebrating Christmas at Her Majesty's Norfolk estate - Sandringham House.

At the time, the former Suits star had just become engaged to Prince Harry, and wouldn't tie the knot for another five months.

For decades, Queen Elizabeth II only invited close family members, their spouses and children to spend quality time with her over the holidays. Girlfriends, even if they're engaged, were never part of the exclusive trip.

Many royal watchers were quick to point out that this was the Queen's way of showing her approval for her grandson Prince Harry's fiancee. Others put emphasis on the fact that Kate Middleton wasn't invited to the estate until after she married Prince William in 2011, even though they had dated for years.

"Firstly, it's important to stress that this is a completely new departure from Christmas with reference to the royal family," said royal commentator Richard Fitzwilliams. "Normally, the protocol is pretty strict. In the past, when Kate Middleton was engaged to William and also when Mike Tindall was engaged to Princess Anne's daughter, Zara Phillips, they didn't, as [an] unmarried [couple], spend Christmas with the Queen."

Meghan Markle and Harry in Norfolk on Christmas Day 2017Mark Jones/Flickr

On the other hand, Fitzwilliams argued that Meghan was included in the festivities because her family isn't around to celebrate with her.

"Obviously Meghan's parents are in the United States, but the main reason [Meghan is invited] is clearly that it's what Harry wished," he continued. "But I wouldn't be at all surprised if it wasn't the queen's idea, simply because, it's so important to make a new member and a future senior member of the royal family feel welcome, feel at home, and Christmas is the perfect time to do it."

This year, as a married woman, Meghan will automatically be taking part in the holiday activities at Sandringham.

However, there is one person close to the Duchess of Sussex that will be on the receiving end of the Queen's generosity.

According to the Daily Mail, Meghan has made such an impression on the monarch that she has invited her mother, Doria Ragland, to stay with them at Sandringham for the holidays.

The invite is unprecedented as the Queen has never invited the family of an in-law to spend time at her country home, not even Kate's parents. However, they have previously attended Christmas day church services with the Queen and the rest of the family.

A source close to the royals told the news outlet that the invite is a "very thoughtful gesture," especially since Meghan is very close with Doria, who is rumored to be moving to the U.K. to be closer to her pregnant daughter.

Once again, the invitation could probably be an acknowledgement of how important Doria, the only member of Meghan's controversial family who attended the royal wedding, is to her daughter and Prince Harry.

It's really nice of the Queen to invite Meghan's mother to join them during the duchess' first Christmas as a member of the royal family.

Blair isn't a bestselling author, but she has a knack for beautiful prose. When she isn't writing for Shared, she enjoys listening to podcasts.