VF: The Queen was ‘very impressed’ by Doria Ragland when they first met

Duchess of Sussex and Queen Elizabeth seen leaving Chester City Council in Chester

As we discussed earlier this week, Queen Elizabeth II has reportedly invited Doria Ragland to Sandringham for a very Germanic Christmas. The Queen used to have a lot of rules about who gets invited to what and where and when. But the Duchess of Sussex seems to have instigated a lot of “rule breaking” within the royal family – Meghan was fast-tracked unlike any other royal bride, and the Queen seems especially fond of both Meghan and Doria. Obviously, Meghan is pregnant and this is her first Christmas as a duchess. So it’s sweet that the Queen would want to ensure that Meghan is as comfortable as possible over the holiday, and that Meghan could have her mom there. Katie Nicholl at Vanity Fair confirmed this piece of news too:

The Queen has broken with tradition once again by inviting an in-law to the family gathering, which is being seen as the ultimate act of kindness by courtiers who are expecting a record family turnout this year. The Queen has invited all of her family members to join her at the close of another successful year which has included two royal weddings, a royal baby, a royal baby announcement, and a 70th birthday milestone. Sources close to Her Majesty, who is said to have bonded with Meghan over their joint love of dogs, say that she wanted to extend her Christmas invitation to Meghan’s mother so that Meghan wasn’t in an awkward situation over the holiday season.

“The Queen was very impressed by Mrs. Ragland when they met,” said a royal source. “The Queen knows that Meghan’s family situation is complicated and that the easiest way for Meghan and Harry to be together and with Doria, which is what they want, is for them all to join her at Sandringham where there is plenty of space. It’s not the norm but then things seem to have changed quite a lot recently.”

This year the Sussexes are expected to be guests in the main house at Sandringham along with other family members. The Queen is apparently keen for as many of her seven great-grandchildren as possible to be there. “She loves getting the family together and it’s so much fun with all the little ones,” said a family source. “The Queen hosted a very successful sleepover in the summer at Balmoral which she is hoping to repeat this Christmas.”

[From Vanity Fair]

I do think the Queen has legitimately “softened” over the past few years especially. I always point out that the Windsor Christmas is very “Germanic,” because it is. The Queen still maintains the same super-structured Christmas schedule as Queen Victoria and Prince Albert had, which is not the most kid-friendly structure. It involves several costume changes, lots of liquor, and a stoic church visit on Christmas morning, when most people are opening presents and eating a big Christmas breakfast.

Anyway, I think it’s been established that the Queen really has invited Doria to Sandringham. Now sources tell Us Weekly that Doria will most likely take the Queen up on her offer: “It is very likely Doria will be at Sandringham for Christmas and will be spending the holidays with Harry, Meghan and other members of the royal family…[she will] indeed be in the U.K. for Christmas.” Carole Middleton is shook!

Also: am I the only one who felt a weird kind of sadness about how the Queen wants as many people around her this Christmas? I feel like… there’s something going on with Prince Philip.

Royal Wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle

Meghan Cookbook Launch

Royal Wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle

Photos courtesy of WENN, Backgrid, Avalon Red.

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56 Responses to “VF: The Queen was ‘very impressed’ by Doria Ragland when they first met”

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  1. Eliza says:

    My family is not German, but we did the big party on Christmas eve and opened presents at midnight and not Christmas morning and did church Christmas day. They follow a similar structure (but with crazy dress code). It’s just different and not cold at all. I got to play with my toys a day before all my friends.

    • Mash says:

      i know a LOT of latinos and hispanics who did this as well….hmmm

      • Eliza says:

        Portuguese. Maybe it’s a Catholic thing?

        But yeah, no need to rag on no Christmas morning as being terrible and cold. Just Christmas day is treated more for church and it’s a big family party the night before.

        As a grown up it’s great too because my husband and I don’t have to pick which family we have to go to on Christmas Day (mine Eve, his day).

    • Momoftwo says:

      Italian here, and we did as well

    • Renee2 says:

      I was coming on here to check posters comments because it seems like it is a very Catholic/European tradition to open gifts on Christmas Eve. I am a lapsed Catholic but my entire family was not Catholic but Christian and we did not do this, but my family is also not European. My friends whose families were of European descent and Catholic did celebrate on Christmas Eve.

    • Sue Denim says:

      I lived in the Philippines for a while and we had midnight mass in the town square, the priest’s sermon blaring on tinny speakers, then a huge meal with 12 kinds of fish, at like 1 am, it was really fun. And the gifts were totally second to the wrapping, which was origami-like in the care and intricacy involved. Nice memories.

    • Harla says:

      Serious question… if you open gifts on Christmas Eve then when does Santa Claus come? I’ve often wonder this but have been to embarrassed to ask my friends who open gifts on Christmas Eve.

      • Polly says:

        In my (Catholic, European) family, there wasn’t any focus on Santa Claus on Christmas Eve. We got small gifts from Santa on St Nicholas day which is on 6 December.

      • Miri says:

        Here in Germany we open presents on Christmas Eve. Santa Clause doesn’t bring the presents here – our kind of Santa is “Nikolaus” and he brings his presents on the 6th of December in the evening – to the well-behaved children at least. He leaves them sometimes in shoes, sometimes he actually shows up and delivers them in person (a dressed-up neighbour or an uncle), often accompanied by Knecht Rupprecht, who “punishes” bad kids with his rod made out of thin branches.
        On Christmas Eve (24th) one room of the house (the one with the tree in it) is usually on lock-down and the kids wait anxiously for the time when the door will finally be opened. A little bell is rung (something that maybe represents the sound of an Angel’s wings) and only then the door can be opened because it means the so-called “Christkind” (Jesus as a child but often depicted as a female angel – don’t ask me why) has been there and left the presents.

      • Agenbiter says:

        As I recall from time in a Catholic region of Germany, kids were told ’the Christ Child’ had brought gifts while everyone was at church Christmas Eve, and they were opened on returning home.

      • Agenbiter says:

        @Miri – overlapped with your more complete answer. Is the ‘Christkind’ image you mentioned really a female angel or just extremely sentimentalized? In any event, German Christmas music and food are wonderful, so hopefully Doria and Meghan are in for a treat.

      • Miri says:

        @ Agenbiter – quite often the Christkind is depicted as baby jesus or some kind of child (who probably is male), but in some regions of Germany (South Germany, Bavaria at least) it is really played by a grown-up woman. For example the famous “Nürnberger Christkind” is always played by a woman between 16 and 19 years old. There is even some kind of casting to find a suitable actress every year. It’s weird… but anyway, here in Germany the Christkind is the one kids send their wishlists to. And the kids don’t seem to mind. I think it’s one of those cases where tradition has created its own myth.

      • Eliza says:

        He came during midnight (late night as ours wasn’t at 12) mass… one parent would forget something or stay behind and put everything under tree.

    • hu says:

      Yes¡¡¡¡ I´m from Colombia and this exactly what we do¡¡¡

    • Haapa says:

      My Finnish side of the family does Christmas Eve too.

  2. skipper says:

    Doria seems like such a classy, loving woman. I’m sure the Queen was impressed by her. I’m so glad she is breaking protocol by inviting her. I’m sure Meghan will love having her mother there for the holidays.

    • hoopjumper says:

      I know. My reaction to this headline was, “OK, but what did Doria think of the Queen?”

      • Lilly says:

        Good point. I’m sure she was observing and protective of what her daughter was getting into. Fortunately, it appears like they all get along and I hope it’s a fun holiday for them all.

    • Olive says:

      she’s not breaking protocol here – Sophie Wessex’s widower father is already invited to Sandringham every year for xmas so he won’t be alone.

  3. Char says:

    First, the Queen and Prince Phillip are over 90, it’s obvious they’re approaching the end of life and wants to be close to their loved ones. Second, Prince Phillip seems to love the “tea” and with that many people, he may have it. Third, I bet Doria and QEII bonded with “those men, right? Always trying to bring us down” and silent nods over tea (not chamomile) and biscuit.

    • Astrid says:


    • Rice says:

      Good point! I’ve often wondered what on earth royals talk about behind closed doors:

      QEII: Did you watch yesterday’s Jeremy Kyle on the telly? Goodness me! That dreadful young man cheated on his wife with FOUR women, and now, they’re all pregnant!

      Royal lesser: Oh yes! How dreadful! But she’s leaving him and taking everything with her!

      Everyone: Hehhehhehheh!

  4. Cee says:

    Why is it cold? This is the norm in Argentina. We get together for dinner on the 24th and past midnight we toast JC’s birth and Santa arrives for the little ones while the adults exchange presents while enjoying fireworks. We go to bed whenever we want to and have breakfast/lunch/dinner together on the 25th.
    Children will usually dose off at 1 am but naps are encouraged the day before. Being excited about the food and Santa also helps.

    • Castle Toz says:

      This sounds like a lovely tradition and also way past my bedtime, lol

    • Anners says:

      I *loved* Christmas in Argentina! I got to spend two there and they were magical! It was so hot, too, which was the opposite of my usually frigid Canadian winters. I wasn’t homesick at all – it was like a giant party that everyone in the neighbourhood went to

  5. My Hiddles says:

    I really love how the royal family has embraced Doria. Doria has a very regal in her own right. I remember shedding a little tear seeing how solicitous Charles was of Doria at the wedding. It almost made me like him.

  6. ValiantlyVarnished says:

    The Queen is over 90 and Phillip is nearly 100. It makes perfect sense that at that age they would want their family around for major holidays. I don’t think that’s a sign of illness. It’s simply old age.

  7. Amelie says:

    The Queen and Prince Philip are both in their 90s. At her age, every year counts. Hell, every moment counts when you’re that old.

  8. Va Va Kaboom says:

    It was very bittersweet when I read she wanted as many of the family there as possible. When they announced Prince Philip was retiring last year I honestly thought they were preparing the public and family for his imminent passing. I’m glad I was wrong and he was here for such a momentous year for their entire family.

    But I still don’t think his passing is far off. And wasn’t it during Christmas last year that the Queen herself had a bad health scare? I imagine they’re both at a stage when every occasion really may be their last. Here’s hoping the whole family can come together and rise above the (reportedly) petty squabbles to have a lovely Christmas.

  9. Laura says:

    When reading about the Christmas holidays at Sandringham I remember quotes about how limited bedrooms were for guests, and that played into who and how many were invited.
    Some guests were allocated smaller household help bedrooms supposedly.

    • Harla says:

      I recall this too Laura. Didn’t they have some guests staying in the servants…I mean staffs quarters while the staff stayed in various other places? And how big are the hot water heaters there? I mean you’ve got 20 people taking showers or baths around the same time and does each room have it’s own en suite? I’d really love to know these little details 🙂

    • Karen says:

      This quote doesn’t pass the smell test for me because Sandringham is notoriously small and overcrowded. A lot of what we read into as royal family drama around invites really has to do with extremely limited space. So whoever said this doesn’t sound in the know.

  10. Thaisajs says:

    Neither the Queen nor Prince Phillip have been in very good health this year, so I think it’s perfectly understandable that she wants to have her family around her. Who knows how many more Christmases they’ll have together.

  11. Citresse says:

    I can imagine HM and Philip riding around Sandringham in a Coach and Four on Boxing Day.
    Harry, Meghan and Mom Doria will be there too, I’m quite sure. Bill and Waity? They’ll make a short appearance with HM et al as usual. However, they better not jet off to Mustique. They had that holiday already.

    • Digital Unicorn says:

      From what I can recall, Waity and BillyBoy spend Christmas Day at Amner with her entire family hence why they all turn up for their yearly PR pap walk with the rest of the RF on boxing day. I suspect that this is one of the reasons why the Mids have never been invited by to the big house, the whole lot of them would turn up.

      I wonder if Willy will have a snit again this year and hold his own royal family christmas with his shadow court, the Middletons, like he did a few years ago. They held a church pap walk at the same time as the main one, then held a shoot event (that Carole got cheap) on boxing day at the same time as the RF family one. Rumour at the time was that it was because he asked for the Mids to get invited to the big house and was refused.

      • Natalie S says:

        How old was William when he was first included in the Christmas walk and service because I think we’ll see the Cambridge kids included either this year or next.

      • aaa says:

        Isn’t Boxing Day December 26? I don’t recall the Middletons being at Sandringham on Boxing Day, maybe that happened early in the Cambridge marriage. Kate’s birthday is in early January, that’s when the Middletons show up en masse and are photographed attending church.

    • Coz' says:

      Of all the things we can accuse William, Kate (and the Middletons) off, I have never understand why Kate and William spending Christmas with her family would be a big deal.
      Haven’t they done 1 year in her family, 1 year in his? Seems quite fair to me.

      • Mego says:

        Yes it’s rather nice actually. I think the Mids are pretty close knit.

      • Polly says:

        Yeah I don’t get it either, it’s nice that they can alternate between her family celebrations and his – that’s what most couples do. I assume Meghan will want to have Christmas in America with her mother and friends some years, will that bother people too?

      • Princessk says:

        The Cambridges are not most people.

  12. aquarius64 says:

    All quiet on the Markle front. It’s been 3 days. I wonder if it finally sunk in the queen will never welcome them; therefore they are useless to the tabloids.

    • Digital Unicorn says:

      Doubt it, Evil Papa Smurf tends to prefer the Sunday papers with his stories so am sure he’s currently trying to get a deal for a sunday exclusive with the Mail on Sunday or one of the other UK tabloids.

      This will have triggered him big time – anything involving Doria getting something he desperately wants sends him over the edge.

      • aquarius64 says:

        What’s Pops going to do ? Trash Doria, threaten to go to court to visit Baby Sussex? Been there done that. When you look at the stories of how Meghan gets along with the Windsors it’s due to the Markle mess. The press has coasted Sam Jr and Sr as the villains in this fairytale. Sam claimed Meghan lied about her education funding and it was a one day story. The media didn’t demand proof from Meghan. Meghan is now Duchess Teflon – nothing they throw at her sticks.

  13. CairinaCat says:

    My family (in California) has a big Christmas Eve with all the family, big dinner, opening presents. Then Christmas morning our individual families celebrate quietly with our kids and get the santa presents to open.

    My husband’s family is Danish, living in Danmark and big Christmas Eve dinner lasting for like 6-8 hours at the table and many courses then midnight Christmas Eve service (Lutheran) then back for a nightcap/toast, dancing around the Christmas tree while singing carols.
    Then next morning a quieter Christmas morning and then a long brunch thing.

    My ex’s family who is English and mostly living in England do very close to the same thing. Including midnight church (CoE) just missing the Christmas tree dancing and singing.
    We also had Christmas day breakfast and then dinner, just not quite as elaborate.

  14. Chef Grace says:

    Opened gifts Christmas eve and church Christmas day. Then a huge lunch . Then we could change clothes and play.

  15. Fluffy Princess says:

    I love reading about everyone’s Christmas traditions!

    For my family, it was Church on Christmas Eve night. I remember how much I looked forward to the candle lighting. One wall of the church was all windows, so when we lit our candles (one person at the end of the row had a lit candle, and the idea was to turn to the person next to you to light their candle, until everyone’s candle was lit.) Finally, when everyone’s candle was lit the singing began. So magical and pretty. Then, we each got to open one small present on Christmas Eve–which was traditionally new pajamas and then off to bed to wait for Santa. Of course, as we got older, it was still Christmas morning to open presents, then family came for a huge lunch/dinner until late that night. Aaaah, so many happy times!

  16. Naya says:

    Greek here , we are not big on the Christmas eve thing because Christmas mass starts at 06.00 in the morning of the 25th after mass at around 8.30 we have a huge breakfast that aways includes pork casserole and wine followed by opening of gifts m napping and then turkey lunch .

  17. Ib says:

    The shake up in the Buckingham Palace (TW’s) and Clarence House (Charles’) courts this year mean that Charles has MUCH MUCH more influence over family and BP decisions . I would be surprised at all if Charles (as an enormous fan of Meghan) advocated for this. If you want to be snarky you can read into this that it’s also a shady message from Charles to William. Anyway, Harry doesn’t have a house at Sandringham like Bill and Kate do (Anmer Hall) so it’s not like harry and meghan have a place to host anyone like Doria themselves (the Middleton’s stay at anmer). So if they are staying at Sandringham, only place for her to stay would be Sandringham too.

  18. hmmm says:

    There is something going on with Philip. My friend who runs in those circle said they were thinking about announcing something this summer, but then didn’t. Maybe his sources are incorrect, but I would be surprised if they are.

    • Nic919 says:

      He’s 97. It doesn’t need to be much. He looked fine at Eugenies wedding a few weeks ago so he probably has a mix of good days and bad days,which is what happens at that age.