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Rediff.com  » Getahead » This is where Meghan Markle will spend her first royal Christmas

This is where Meghan Markle will spend her first royal Christmas

December 25, 2017 10:45 IST

In photos: The church and the village that hosts the royals during the holidays.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's official engagement portrait.
Meet the man who will write Meghan Markle's tell-all story.
Photograph: Alexi Lubomirski/Via Kensington Palace.

 

In a departure from tradition, Prince Harry's faincée Meghan Markle will attend the British Royal family's Christmas celebrations this year.

The invitation to Markle is very unusual given that even Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge, didn't attend the celebration when she was engaged to Prince William.

'It's quite set and quite formal,' royal historian Kate Williams told the BBC. 'It's looked pretty much the same since the Queen's youth in the '50s.'

The family will attend Christmas service at the 16th Century St Mary Magdalene Church, which is very close to the Sandringham Estate, Queen Elizabeth's 8,000-hectare private home in Norfolk, where the family celebrations take place.

Both the church and the estate are open to the public for a part of the year. But that's not all that Norfolk has to offer.

Scroll down for a tour.

 

Sandringham Estate

Sandringham in Norfolk has been the private home of four generations of British monarchs since 1862.
The house set in 24 hectares of gardens, which along with the 
house and the museum is open from end of March to October every year.
Photograph: @karen_roe/Flickr.

 

Sandringham Estate

About 240 hectares of the estate is made up of woodland and heath of the Country Park, and is open to the public free of charge every day of the year.
Sandringham village is the birth place of Princess Diana.
Photograph: Toby Melville/Reuters.

 

Sandringham Estate

The 18th century Anmer Hall, which is the home of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, is also part of the Sandringham Estate, and Markle and Prince Harry might be staying here during their Norfolk visit this Christmas.
Photograph: Wikimedia Commons.

 

Mary Magdalene Church

Mary Magdalene Church

The St Mary Magdalene Church is located just 300 yards from Sandringham estate and the royals -- barring the queen, who travels by car -- walk to the church for Christmas service.
Members of the Norfolk congregation and other subjects turn up to watch the royals.
The church has also hosted many royal christenings, including that of Princess Diana in 1961 and her granddaughter Princess Charlotte (Prince Williams and Kate Middleton's daughter) in 2015.
Photographs: Joe Giddens/Reuters.

 

Sandringham Estate

For those interested in more than royalty, the Sandringham Estate includes the Dersingham Bog National Nature Reserve, which includes three distinct habitats -- mire, heath and woodland.
The nearby village of Dersingham took the ninth place in The Sunday Times' list of the 20 best villages in Britain this year.
Photograph: Chris Radburn/Reuters.

 

Sandringham Estate

Sandringham is also close to the picturesque seaport town of King's Lynn.
When Queen Elizabeth travels to Norfolk by train, she alights at the King's Lynn station.
Photograph: @Jon Bunting/Flickr.

 

Sandringham Estate

Norfolk is a treat for nature lovers with attractions like Blakeney National Nature Reserve, which is about an hour''s drive from Sandringham Estate...
Photograph: @Steve Walker/Flickr.

 

Sandringham Estate

... And the famous Norfolk Broads, which are a network of mostly navigable rivers and broads, crossing the two counties of Norfolk and Suffolk. The waterways are full of wildlife like otters and the rare Swallowtail butterfly, and are popular for sailing, canoeing and kayaking.
Photograph: @Roger Green/Flickr.

 

Rediff Get Ahead Bureau