The invitation marks the first time that non-royals have been permitted to attend the Queen’s family at their annual Christmas gatherint at the Sandringham Estate, reports Yahoo! Movies.
The invitation is also big because it breaks with the royals tradition for keeping the event a strictly royal affair. Her Royal Highness reportedly believes that the invitation will encourage her granddaughter-in-law, Duchess Kate Middleton, to attend the celebration, “despite this difficult time.”
Middleton is currently pregnant and suffering from what doctors are calling extreme morning sickness, or hyperemesis gravidarum. The condition is rare and causes extreme nausea, weight loss, and malnutrition unless properly treated.
The Duchess and wife of Prince William was hospitalized earlier this month for the condition and has been forced to remain absent from several planned functions while she recovers. United Press International notes that, although Duchess Kate is feeling better, she hasn’t finalized Christmas plans and reportedly may not finalize them “until the night before or the morning of,” according to an aide.
The aide added, “It depends on how she feels. And if Catherine doesn’t go, William probably won’t either.” Despite her hospitalization for hyperemesis gravidarum, the Duchess is reportedly feeling better in recent days. She was able to attend the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Awards, which was her first public appearance since the announcement that she was pregnant.
The Duchess and her husband also hosted a low-key holiday lunch two days later for 27 members of their staff at London’s Bumpkin restaurant.
It is not clear if Duchess Kate Middleton’s parents will accept Queen Elizabeth’s invitation for the holiday celebration.