Meghan Markle joined the royal family for their traditional Christmas Day service at the Queen’s Sandringham estate.
Markle walked arm-in-arm with her fiance, Prince Harry, as they made the short journey from Sandringham House to St Mary Magdalene church. She seemed at ease as they smiled and chatted as they walked alongside William and Kate, who is pregnant with her third child.
The Queen arrived in a car and joined the group, which also included the Duke of Edinburgh and the Prince of Wales.
Hundreds of well-wishers turned out to catch a glimpse of the royal family, with some calling out “Merry Christmas” as they walked past.
As they made the return journey to Sandringham House after the service was over, Markle and Harry stopped to chat to some of the crowd who turned out in mild conditions. Among them was Judith Wallis, who was sitting in a wheelchair and is staying at the neighbouring Park House Hotel on her first Christmas Day visit to Sandringham.
She said Harry recognised her teddy bear called Maureen, which is a mascot for the Armed Forces charity SSAFA, and her hat that bore the Gurkha regiment emblem. She said Markle spoke to them, too.
“She said lots of things,” said Wallis, who is in her 70s and from Chesterfield. “She was very, very lovely.”
Tess Gilder, the manager of Park House, which describes itself as a unique hotel for disabled people, was with Wallis. She said of Markle: “She was just so natural, so lovely. I think they just wished us a happy Christmas and were interested in whether we had been before.”
A crowd of around 200 were waiting for the family’s arrival from early morning.
A number of Americans from nearby RAF Lakenheath made the journey to see the family and their new addition.
Lindsey Wells, from Nebraska, said it was “intriguing” and “exciting” that Ms. Markle was marrying into the Royal Family, and she wanted to see them in person.
The Americans in the crowd were especially thrilled to see her, mainly from the bases at Mildenhall and Lakenheath, happy at the prospect of one of their compatriots marrying into a British institution in May next year.
One was so excited that he brought an engagement ring all the way from Wisconsin for his girlfriend and proposed to her in the queue. She said yes!