The couple was photographed arriving at the palace for the party. 

Elisabeth Sherman
December 21, 2017

Looks like Meghan Markle is already getting to know her future family: The soon-to-be royal—who announced her engagement to the formerly most eligible bachelor the planet, Prince Harry (whose real name, by the way, is Henry, in case you weren’t aware) on November 27—joined her fiancé for Queen Elizabeth’s annual pre-Christmas lunch at Buckingham Palace. The future king of England, Prince William, and his wife Duchess Kate (who is pregnant with her third child), as well as their two children, Prince George and Princess Charlotte, joined them.

Mark Cuthbert/Getty Images

Queen Elizabeth hosts the pre-Christmas party every year before the family sets off for Sandringham Estate in Norfolk, where they spend the Christmas holiday. Her future grandmother made an exception for Markle; she’ll be allowed to join Prince Harry at Sandringham for the holiday celebrations, despite the fact that the pair are not yet married. Kate Middleton was not invited to join the family for Christmas while she was still engaged to Prince William. The family usually celebrates Christmas Eve together, followed by church service on Christmas Day at St. Mary Magdalene Church. After church, the family usually gathers for lunch and a “stroll through the woods,” according to USA Today. No word on whether or not the queen will be indulging her customary four cocktails a day regiment, but during the holidays who doesn't need a drink? 

Mark Cuthbert/Getty Images

Just six days ago, Kensington Palace (the official news source for all things related to the royal family) announced that Markle and Prince Harry will be married on May 19, at St. George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle. This morning, the palace also released the couple’s official (and very romantic) engagement photos. The former actress (and American!) seems to be adjusting quite nicely to her life in the spotlight, and given the pressure she must be under to perform perfectly not just for the public but for her royal in-laws, I personally couldn't be more impressed with her. According to the Kensington Palace Instagram account (which is well worth taking more than a few minutes to peruse), the couple was so thrilled with the response to the photos, which were posted only two hours ago, but have since garnered more than 200,000 likes, that they decided to also release a candid shot from the photo shoot.

As anticipation and excitement for the wedding continue to grow, surely more rumors, gossip, and grainy photos of the couple arriving at various palaces to spend time with their family will continue to emerge. It’s the only fuel we have to go on until the day of the wedding finally arrives.