What will Meghan Markle make of a traditional royal Christmas?

The traditions and customs followed by the royal family at Christmas are likely to come as a surprise to Meghan Markle.

Wednesday, 13th December 2017, 12:08 pm
Updated Wednesday, 13th December 2017, 12:15 pm
Queen Elizabeth II as she leaves St Mary Magdalene Church on the Sandringham estate in Norfolk following the traditional Christmas Day service with other members of the Royal Family

While most people across the country open their presents on Christmas Day, the royal family still keep to the German practice of opening their gifts on Christmas Eve.

The Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh and other royals usually congregate in the White Drawing Room at Sandringham House the day before Christmas to put the finishing touches to a 20ft (6m) tree cut from the estate.

Presents are placed on a white linen-covered trestle table, with cards marking exactly where the piles of gifts should be put.

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And what should Ms Markle buy the woman who is head of state and lives in palaces? Something useful as the Queen apparently likes practical presents, but not overly extravagant ones.

The Duchess of Cambridge revealed that she was left stumped over what to buy the Queen for Christmas.

''I thought 'I'll make her something'. Which could have gone horribly wrong. But I decided to make my granny's recipe of chutney."

At 5pm, guests enjoy tea, scones, sandwiches and cakes from sideboards in the Saloon.

Afterwards, they dress for dinner, with the table set with the finest china.

Ms Markle will be separated from Harry later in the evening as, sometime after 10pm, on a signal from the Queen, the corgis are led out and the ladies adjourn, leaving the Duke of Edinburgh to serve port or brandy to the men.

On Christmas Day, the royals awake to find stockings filled with small gifts and fruit at the foot of their beds.

Their appearance at St Mary Magdalene Church's morning service on the royal estate is a traditional event where they meet well-wishers.

Back at the house, lunch is served at 1pm and they indulge in a giant turkey, reared at Sandringham.

They then settle down to watch TV, including - most importantly - the Queen's Christmas Speech.