Meghan Markle and Kate Middleton have begun a friendship that should help the transplanted American actress navigate the tricky transition from outsider to member of the British Royal Family.
Meghan will have plenty of time to bond with her soon to be sister-in-law, since it was just revealed she and Prince Harry are bunking up with Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge for the Christmas holiday.
In addition to celebrating their engagement with the entire royal family on Christmas Day at the Queen’s Sandringham estate, a source close to the newly engaged couple told Entertainment Tonight that Meghan and Harry plan to spend some down time before gearing up for their wedding with William and Kate at their country home, Anmer Hall, in nearby Norfolk.
Meghan’s inclusion in the royal family’s Christmas celebration made headlines because it has historically been limited to married couples. Kate was not invited to Sandringham after becoming engaged to William. She opted to spend her last Christmas as a single woman with her family in Berkshire. It’s clear that Harry wanted Meghan, whose mother lives in California, with him for the holiday, and the Queen, who “adores” her grandson, was happy to break with tradition to accommodate his request.
It was also reported Harry and Meghan will likely stay with the Cambridges on Christmas Eve so they can be there with Prince George, 4, and Princess Charlotte, 2, for Christmas morning. According to The Sunday Times, Meghan has already spent some time with the royal tots and both children are expected to play a role in the upcoming wedding.
And who better than Kate, who made the transition from commoner to Duchess seamlessly, to show Meghan the royal ropes?
Harry is extremely close to Kate—he considers her “the sister I never had”—so it would be both advantageous and important for Meghan to “get on” well with her soon-to-be sister-in-law.
The day after the engagement announcement, Kate told reporters, “William and I are absolutely thrilled. It’s such exciting news. It’s a really happy time for any couple and we wish them all the best and hope they enjoy this happy moment.”
Despite their obvious differences, Kate and Meghan have some things in common. The women are close in age (Kate is 35, Meghan is 36), and are already neighbors within the Kensington Palace complex. Meghan has moved into Nottingham Cottage with Harry (where the couple’s joint engagement interview was taped), which is near William and Kate’s apartments. The two-bedroom starter home is also where the Cambridges lived until Prince George was born.
All eyes will be on both couples as royal watchers look for clues to see how everyone is getting along when they appear together for the first time during the annual walk to St. Mary Magdalene Church on Christmas Day. A Kensington Palace spokeswoman told People, “You can expect to see the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry and Meghan on Christmas Day.” We’ll be watching. And more royals coverage, don’t miss the 10 Things We Know about Meghan and Harry’s Wedding.
Diane Clehane is a New York-based journalist and author of Imagining Diana: A Novel.
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