Meghan Markle and Prince Harry Will Break These Royal Traditions on Their First Christmas as Parents

Rules are meant to be broken. But not in the royal family. If you’re a royal, you grow up entrenched in so much protocol that going by the book probably comes second nature. When a new person comes into any family, even a royal one, they are bound to shake things up a bit. And that is exactly what happened with Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. They have broken a lot of rules and protocols since they were married and that trend isn’t going to stop with the holidays.

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry
Meghan Markle and Prince Harry | Karwai Tang/WireImage

Where Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will spend the holidays

Since their engagement, Markle and Harry have spent every Christmas with the Queen and the rest of the royals. This year, they have decided to spend the season with Markle’s mom, Doria Ragland, in the U.S. As Ragland lives in L.A., it is presumed to be where Markle and Harry will be spending their time, though they haven’t announced a specific location. Because they will be out of the country for Christmas, they will also miss the annual Christmas Day service at St. Mary Magdalene’s.

They will miss a number of the Queen’s events

As with any monarch, the Queen’s days are meticulously scheduled out. That includes the holidays. On Christmas eve, the royals have a set time to open their gifts.

“The Queen arrives a few days before everyone else, like any good hostess, to ensure everything is ready,” Grant Harrold, one of Prince Charles’ former butlers, told Insider.

“Then most of the royals will arrive on Christmas Eve. They will have afternoon tea, which is traditionally held between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m., where they will exchange gifts.”

Maybe this year, the Queen will exchange gifts with Harry, Markle, and baby Archie early so they can have them when they are in America.

In addition to missing the gift exchange, they will also miss the annual palace staff Christmas party.

Their Christmas will be a lot more ordinary

As Markle doesn’t come from an affluent family, it’s safe to assume that a Christmas spent with her mother will be a lot different than what Harry is used to.

Just take the decorations for instance. This year’s Windsor Castle holiday decorations are already quite insane. There is garland everywhere and a giant 20-foot Nordmann fir tree now sits in St. George’s Hall. It’s doubtful that Ragland’s house could fit such a tree.

This year’s royal decorations will be even more fancy than normal as this is the 200th anniversary of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert’s births. To commemorate the occasion, Windsor Castle will have a display of gifts that the couple gave to one another during their reign.

The royal couple will also miss the annual Christmas dinner which is prepared by a professional chef. Given Markle and Harry’s status, they could hire a chef of their own to cook their Christmas dinner in America, though they might opt to go for a home-cooked meal for their baby’s first Christmas.

Why did Meghan Markle and Prince Harry choose to spend Christmas in the U.S.?

This trip to America comes on the heels of a very rough year for Harry and Markle. Harry recently publicly condemned the British media for their harsh treatment of his wife. The two can barely make a move in England without being bashed in the media, so a trip to America may serve as a nice break. Plus, they spend all of the other holidays with Harry’s family, so it’s only fair to mix it up a bit.