Meghan Markle joins royal family's Christmas Day service before wedding with Harry

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Prince Harry and Meghan Markle
One of two official engagement photos released by Kensington Palace of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, at Frogmore House in Windsor, Britain December 21, 2017. Picture taken in the week commencing December 17, 2017. Alexi Lubomirski/Courtesy Of Kensington Palace/Handout via Reuters

American actress Meghan Markle has joined future husband Prince Harry and other members of the British royal family for Christmas Day service at Sandringham Estate. She became the first royal partner to spend Christmas with the royal family prior to a wedding.

Markle being part of the Christmas Day service was believed to be a strategy to create a rapport with the British public. Her invitation marks a break in tradition for the royals as Kate Middleton was not invited to join Prince William for Christmas in 2010. Markle is set to marry Harry on May 19.

Markle and Harry were photographed walking arm in arm in Norfolk as they made their way from Sandringham House to the church. The engaged couple arrived alongside Harry’s brother Prince William and his wife.

Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip were also in attendance for the celebration. Princess Eugenie and Beatrice were there, too, while absentees were Prince George and Princess Charlotte.

Markle sported a camel wrap coat and a brown hat. Middleton’s outfit for the day was more colourful.

The Duchess of Cambridge was all smiles in a more festive attire. Middleton, who is pregnant with her third child, wore a tartan coat dress and fur hat.

The 35-year-old had her long, brunette hair styled in her trademark loose waves. She completed her look with a nude lipstick.

The queen, on the other hand, was dressed in orange. She led the family into St Mary Magdalene Chapel.

In her Christmas broadcast, Queen Elizabeth said she looked forward to welcoming “new members” to the family next year, although she did not mention Markle’s name. The broadcast, however, featured an engagement photograph of Markle. The queen also used her Christmas broadcast on Monday to pay homage to the “extraordinary bravery and resilience” of the citizens of London and Manchester.

"You can expect to see the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prince Harry and Ms Markle at Sandringham on Christmas Day,” a spokesperson for Kensington Palace earlier confirmed. The royal family greeted members of the public after the service.

Kensington Palace has previously announced that Meghan and Harry will tie the knot in St George's Chapel, which has hosted a number of royal weddings and funerals. It is located on the grounds of Windsor Castle. The Church of England's Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby gave his blessing for the pair to marry in a church.