The Queen Broke A Royal Christmas Tradition – And It Was All For Meghan Markle

When Prince Harry announced his engagement to Meghan Markle, people were delighted — and curious. Not only was she American and an actress, but she was also a divorcee. These two things made her stand out from other royal brides. Now fully settled into married life in the U.S., Harry and Meghan have shown that there's no tradition they won't break if it comes between them... including traditions established by the Queen herself. We'll never know for sure how Queen Elizabeth really felt about Meghan Markle, but we do know one thing: the first Christmas after Harry and Meghan's wedding, the Queen made a surprising announcement about the tradition-breaking woman in Harry’s life.

The divorce problem

You see, the British royal family is famously anti-divorce. The monarch is also the head of the Church of England, which strongly disapproves of broken marriages. The abdication crisis of 1936, where the Queen’s uncle King Edward gave up the throne, was partly brought about because of the divorce problem. Edward opted to marry the twice-divorced Wallis Simpson rather than remain king. Now that’s love.

The Queen’s position

Since then, many royals have gotten divorced from their spouses. Harry’s parents, Prince Charles and the late Princess Diana, are a prime example. But even then, the Queen’s official position is “no divorce.” The biggest exception to this rule came about in 2005 when Charles married Camilla Parker Bowles, herself a divorcee. The Queen, however, was not present at the civil ceremony.

Making an exception

And the Queen could have chosen not to attend Harry and Meghan’s wedding, either. In the post-engagement interview with the BBC, Meghan revealed that she had met the Queen and described her as “an incredible woman.” But even though the relationship had started well, if the Queen had decided that the wedding was incompatible with the Church of England’s teachings, she could have stayed home.

Meghan’s a pioneer

Meghan is also the first Black woman to marry a British prince since at least the 18th century. When this subject was addressed in the BBC interview, she answered that although she found the racism she had already faced “disheartening,” she would always be proud of who she was.