The monarch had extended her first invitation to an unofficial partner at the family’s traditional Christmas lunch, but the future Duchess of Cambridge, who was 24 at the time, reportedly refused
Before the wedding, Kate Middleton, now an almost permanent presence at the major events and celebrations of the Royal Household, declined an invitation from Queen Elizabeth to participate with William in an official Christmas lunch in 2006 at Sandringham. Robert Lacey wrote about it in his ‘Battle of Brothers’, quoted by the ‘Mirror: breaking with tradition – he states – the monarch had extended her first invitation to an unofficial partner on the occasion of the family’s traditional Christmas lunch. But Kate, who was 24 at the time, reportedly refused. Kate “would only go to Sandringham for Christmas once she was engaged”.
In reality, Kate took part in an official celebration at the Palace with William and the rest of her family only in December 2011 – the Christmas following her wedding, by which time she had the title of Duchess of Cambridge. Several years later, future sister-in-law Meghan Markle was allowed to join Harry in Christmas celebrations, despite the couple not being married. There was no shortage of comparisons and there were those who wondered what the difference was due to and why the same offer had not been made to Kate.
But according to the book, the late queen had invited Kate. In her biography Lacey says: “By 2006, William and Kate had been dating for almost five years. However, when William invited Kate to join him at Sandringham for the royal family’s Christmas lunch, she declined. It was the first time that Queen extended such an invitation to an unofficial ‘fiancée’, but Kate had her own opinion on that break from tradition: she would go to Sandringham on Christmas Day only as a fiancée and complete with ring.”