With only 11 days left until Christmas, the holiday party season is in full swing. And soon-to-be-royal Meghan Markle attended the ultimate Christmas party: the Queen's staff Christmas shindig. Not only was her attendance a delightful surprise, according to partygoers, but it gives us a hint of what to expect from Markle's upcoming wedding to Prince Harry.
According to People, the annual party was held at Windsor Castle, specifically "in a set of rooms, including the Waterloo Chamber, St. George's Hall, and the Grand Reception Room." And why should you care about some rooms you will probably never set foot in? (I mean, unless you decide to take a tour. But, you know.) Aaaaanyways, you should care because that is reportedly where Markle and the Prince's wedding reception will be held.
An unnamed staffer told People, "The Christmas party is always held there. They'll hold the wedding reception there, too. It is a well-proven system and arrangement."
The system that staffer is likely referring to is the ability to transition from ceremony to reception on the castle grounds, because the couple has decided to be married at St. George's Chapel, on the Windsor Castle grounds, per the Huffington Post.
Windsor Castle is, according to the Royal Collection Trust, "the oldest and largest occupied castle in the world" and the Queen's private residence on most weekends. Approximately 22 miles to the west of London, the Castle was founded in the 11th century by William the Conqueror.
The chapel, on the other hand, dates back to the 14th century, though the current building was constructed in the 15th century and is an important landmark for the Church of England. Founder of the Church and mercurial monarch Henry VIII and his third, much beloved wife Jane Seymour are both buried there. There's definitely the weight of English royal history at this chapel. But perhaps most importantly, both the castle itself and the chapel are gorgeous, with the chapel a model of gothic architecture and the castle decadent and dreamy.
Per People, according to Prince Harry's spokesman, the couple chose Windsor and St. George's for the wedding and reception because it's a "very special place for Prince Harry." Further, the Archbishop of Canterbury, the leader of the Church of England, told BBC 4 Radio that the Prince and Markle have chosen the chapel because it is "a holy and sacred place."
The archbishop said, “There is a profound sense of commitment... seriousness, both about faith and about their lives together, which is quite inspirational.”
And all signs point to this being the case: Markle, who was raised Protestant, is planning on being baptized and confirmed by the Church of England before the big day.
The staff party was the first Christmas event Markle attended and has reportedly surprised many insiders, per People, given the speed with which Markle is being introduced into the royal family's schedule and private events. (She will also be the first unmarried partner ever to be invited to the Queen's Christmas day celebrations.) But it is reportedly a sign of how "keen" the Queen is for Markle to get to know staff members and become one of the family.
After all, Markle and Prince Harry are on something of an express schedule to marriage, with their wedding set for May.
And, for what it's worth, Markle is, by all accounts, doing a great job. Per Vanity Fair, Daily Mail royal reporter Rebecca English said that, not only was Markle's appearance at the staff party a surprise, but she was "charm personified."
She reportedly introduced herself by saying, "Hi, I'm Meghan." And, according to an anonymous partygoer, “She was unbelievably beautiful and Harry looked so proud.”
English added, “It was definitely a surprise to all those attended. And those that did meet her were absolutely blown away by her elegance and confidence. She’s gone down well with the staff, that’s for certain!”
Be still my heart.