While all eyes have been on the younger members of the royal family over the past week, the Queen stepped out of her palace into the spotlight at a special Christmas lunch in London on Tuesday.
The 92-year-old monarch was spotted leaving the The Goring Hotel, where she’d attended a Christmas lunch for her close members of staff.
As is often her style, the Queen looked lovely in a matching pale blue skirt and jacket for the occasion and carried her favourite black patent handbag, paired with her trademark heeled court shoes.
The Goring Hotel has been a firm royal favourite since it first opened its doors in 1910, and stands out from the crowd as the only hotel to have been granted a Royal Warrant for hospitality services. The 108-year-old establishment received the badge of great honour in 2013 and has been visited by many members of the royal family over the years.
Royal Warrants of Appointment are a mark of recognition to those who supply goods or services to the royal household and are only afforded to those who supply supreme services and products.
While she’s had a busy year in 2018, Thursday will mark one of the Queen’s last royal engagements before she takes a break for Christmas. The monarch is set to visit Lincoln’s Inn — a society of barristers, situated on a large estate of historic buildings — before taking a well-earned holiday.
The Queen traditionally spends Christmas at the Sandringham estate in Norfolk, where she is joined by other members of the royal family. And while usually only official members of the royal family are allowed at the table, this year the Queen has reportedly extended an invitation to Meghan’s mother Doria Ragland.
A report published in Vanity Fair in November cited sources who said the Queen was “very impressed” by Doria when they met ahead of Meghan and Prince Harry’s wedding and that she was aware the festive season would be tricky for the pregnant duchess, who would understandably want to spend time with her mother.
It’s the second year in a row the Queen has made special exceptions for Meghan at Christmas. Last year she invited the then newly engaged actress to spend Christmas with the royals, breaking years of tradition that decreed only those who had married immediate members of the royal family could join them at the lunch table.
This year’s Christmas celebration at Sandringham is expected to be particularly joyful for the royal family, which has celebrated a royal baby, royal baby announcement, royal wedding and Prince Charles’s 70th birthday all within the last 12 months.