LIFE

The Royal Family Attended Christmas Day Church Service Together, But A Few Members Were Missing

by Kim Wong-Shing
Kim Wong-Shing is a staff writer at LittleThings. Her work spans beauty, wellness, pop culture, identity, food, and other topics. She is a contributing writer at NaturallyCurly, and her work has also appeared in HelloGiggles, Lifehacker, Wear Your Voice Magazine, and other outlets. She grew up in Philadelphia, attended Brown University, and is now based in New Orleans.

Every year, the British royal family travels to the Queen’s Sandringham estate in Norfolk to celebrate Christmas.

They dress up in fancy outfits, go on a public walkabout, and attend a special Christmas Day church service.

This year, fans couldn’t stop speculating about what Christmas at Sandringham would look like. First, there were rumors that Kate and William would skip the festivities due to bad blood with Meghan and Harry. And then, sources said that Doria Ragland had received an unusual invitation to spend Christmas at Sandringham, despite not being a royal.

Now that Christmas has come and gone, we can safely put those rumors to bed. Yes, Kate and William were at Christmas with the rest of the family. They appeared to play nice with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, too.

But a few important family members were noticeably absent from the scene. Prince Philip didn’t attend, nor did Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall. And Doria opted not to accept the Queen’s rare invitation, if it was indeed extended.

On Christmas Day, the royal family descended upon Sandringham to attend the morning church service. As they do every year, they went on a public walk and greeted excited onlookers.

This year, fans were extra curious to see how Christmas at Sandringham would go after rampant rumors of a family feud.

We now know that, while most of the main royal family members were indeed present at Christmas, a few key royals were missing from the action.

Prince William, Kate Middleton, Prince Harry, and Meghan Markle all arrived at church at the same time, along with William and Harry’s dad, Prince Charles.

There’s a strict royal protocol about who arrives at the Sandringham estate first, the Express reports.

“As with other royal engagements and visits, there’s a pecking order,” James Brookes, royal commentator, explained. “The more junior members of the family arrive first, with the senior royal following.”

The Queen was all smiles as she arrived at church in a gray and pink outfit.

Several other members of the royal family also attended the service, including Princess Beatrice of York.

And her sister, Princess Eugenie of York, was there her new husband, Jack Brooksbank.

Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex, and Sophie, Countess of Wessex, also attended with their two children.

All eyes were on the two duchesses after all the rumors of bad blood. But Kate and Meghan walked right next to each other, and they even shared a few friendly laughs.

Meghan and Harry also opted to stay with Kate and William at the main estate.

Feud? What feud?

Feuds aside, a few important members of the family were missing from this year’s Christmas.

Prince William and Kate’s three kids — Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis — were absent. According to Elle, this is because kids typically don’t attend church service with the rest of the family until they’re a little bit older.

Prince Philip, the husband of the Queen, opted not to attend, though he is reportedly in good health, per Insider.

Prince Charles’ wife, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, stayed home this year because of a heavy cold.

Lastly, Meghan Markle’s mom, Doria Ragland, wasn’t at Christmas either.

Since Doria isn’t a member of the royal family, her absence wouldn’t normally be surprising. But Doria reportedly received a rare special invitation from the Queen to spend Christmas at Sandringham.

According to reports, Doria planned to spend the holidays at home in Los Angeles instead.

During their walk, the family happily waved and chatted with photographers and fans, many of whom had brought flowers and garlands to give the royals.

Meghan even opened up to one photographer about her baby’s due date.

“We’re nearly there,” she reportedly said.

By this time next year, she’ll be bringing a little plus-one to Sandringham!