When Meghan Markle spent Christmas with Queen Elizabeth and Prince Harry's family, it broke royal tradition and caused a stir as she became the first royal fiancée to ever do so. However, it might not have been such a big deal after all.
If you ask royal expert and Queen Elizabeth's officer of arms Alastair Bruce, the unconventional move had less to do with tradition and more to do with support.
"I think I can guess this," he told InStyle exclusively in an interview ahead of the airing of the Coronation documentary, in which he spoke to Queen Elizabeth.
"Can you imagine a family that's gathering together for Christmas and they've got quite a lot of rooms because they've got a big house, and there's a fiancée. Now she'd normally go off and stay with her family, wouldn't she? Well, here we have a fiancée who lives in the United States of America. Of course, she can come and stay. I mean, they're only human."
"I suspect Prince Harry got in touch with his grandmother, who is terribly proud of him, and said, 'Granny, any chance of bringing her?' And there was probably a bit of a fumble as they looked at the beds, and certain people were pushed around the corner, and a couple of beds were made up, and I don't know ... She went, and that was perfectly normal," he said.
Even though many people took Markle's presence at Christmas as an indicator of rule-bending, Bruce thought it ultimately came down to practicality.
"I think everyone made a great thing of it, but I don't think anyone's there worrying about the great moral judger in the sky about whether this, that, and the other. People have very different attitudes toward these things, and it's all about being utilitarian and helpful, and that's what the queen has always been," he said.
"In fact, that's what came across in our conversation. The queen is entirely utilitarian and constructive, so I see it as human natural sense, and that's applied to how she set about the coronation, how she looks at the crowns today, and how she wants to be supportive to a future granddaughter-in-law."