The Duchess of Cambridge and the Duchess of Sussex are attending their first joint formal engagement since rumours of a rift first emerged.
Kate, 36, and Meghan, 37, have joined husbands Prince William, 36, and Prince Harry, 34, and other members of the royal family for the Queen’s traditional Christmas lunch at Buckingham Palace.
The outing comes amid continued speculation over the state of relations between the two couples, with a flurry of reports in recent weeks hinting at tension both between Meghan and Kate – and William and Harry.
Prince Andrew, 58, Princess Anne, 68, and their father the Duke of Edinburgh, 97, were among the first to arrive for the family gathering today, followed shortly afterwards by the Countess of Wessex, 53, and her daughter Lady Louise Windsor, 15.
Princess Beatrice, 30, is also present, although her sister Princess Eugenie and brother-in-law Jack Brooksbank have not yet been seen. Peter Phillips, 41, and his wife Autumn, travelled separately, with one of their daughter’s spotted in the back seat of their father’s car.
Prince George, five, and Princess Charlotte, three, were accompanied by their nanny in the backseat of their parents’ car, while their Grandfather Prince Charles, 70, appeared without his wife the Duchess of Cornwall.
Family outing: The Duchess of Cambridge and the Duchess of Sussex are attending their first joint formal engagement since rumours of a rift first emerged. Pictured, Kate arriving with her husband Prince William, their son Prince George, five, and the nanny. Three-year-old Princess Charlotte joined her big brother in the back seat
Bringing the glamour: The Duke and Duchess of Sussex drove their own car into the palace for the family meal
Annual gathering: Prince Philip, 97, was smart in a patterned blue tie as he made the journey to Buckingham Palace
Fresh-faced: Princess Beatrice, 30, arrived for the festive lunch after a night out in London hangout Annabel’s with friends
Mother-daughter time: Lady Louise Windsor, 15, rode in the front seat of the car with Sophie Wessex as the family arrived
Flying solo: Prince Charles, 70, appeared to be attending without his wife the Duchess of Cornwall, 71
Off to gan-gans! Three-year-old Princess Charlotte, left, and Prince George, five, right, were spotted in the back of the car
Co-ordinated: Princess Anne and her husband Vice Admiral Sir Timothy Lawrence dressed in dark coats and red scarves as they arrived for the Queen’s traditional Christmas lunch at Buckingham Palace
Lunch at Mum’s! Prince Andrew, pictured, was among the first members of the Royal Family seen arriving for the festive feast
Proud father: Princess Anne’s son Peter Phillips drove his daughters Savannah and Isla to the family reunion on Wednesday
Full car: Mike and Zara Tindall, pictured in the front seats, arrived with daughter Mia Grace, just seen in the back
Radiant: Autumn Phillips, the wife of Peter Phillips and Princess Anne’s daughter-in-law, arriving for the meal on Wednesday
A cherished royal tradition, the lunch at the palace provides the monarch with the opportunity to spend time with those relatives who don’t join her at the Sandringham Estate in Norfolk over the festive season, as well as close members of the family who will be there on the day itself.
The Countess of Wessex arrived without her husband Prince Edward in a low-key ensemble of burgundy jacket, chunky knit scarf and a pair of glasses. Her daughter Lady Louise was similarly laid-back in a denim shirt.
Autumn Phillips, mother of the Queen’s great-granddaughters Savannah, seven, and Isla, six, brought a splash of colour to proceedings in a vibrant purple top. She arrived in a separate car to her husband and daughters.
A dress bag is seen hanging in the backseat of her car, suggesting she might change before sitting down for lunch.
Meanwhile Princess Anne co-ordinated with husband Vice Admiral Sir Timothy Lawrence in a dark winter coat and bright red scarf. The Princess Royal added a sporty pair of sunglasses to the look.
Elegant: Pregnant Meghan, 37, opted for a high-neck number with a delicate lace trim as she joined husband Harry
Glittering: While little could be seen of the Duchess of Sussex’s outfit, her sparkling diamond earrings were in full view
Good spirits: The Duchess of Sussex flashed a smile as husband Prince Harry drove her into Buckingham Palace
Gracious: The Duchess of Cambridge, dressed in a sherbet pink dress, waved at supporters as she arrived with her family
Light-hearted moment: William and Kate shared a smile as they arrived for lunch with Charlotte, three, in the back seat
Staff have been busy giving Buckingham Palace a festive makeover, with impressive fir trees have erected in the Marble Hall earlier this month.
The trees, which were grown in Windsor, were adorned with royal-themed hangings, while a traditional garland decorated with baubles has been put up along the grand staircase.
The Queen no doubt has ensured that Buckingham Palace looks the part as she hosts members of the royal family as part of her annual pre-Christmas lunch.
The traditional lunch at the Palace usually takes place mid-week, shortly before the royal family head to Sandringham for the 25th.
Back to London: The Duke of Edinburgh, who spends much of his time at Windsor Castle, returned for the festive feast
Sprightly: The Duke of Edinburgh, who was seen carriage driving earlier this week, was joined by family for lunch in London
Festive cheer: Autumn Phillips shared a joke with a female companion as she arrived in a separate car from husband Peter
Glowing: Mother-of-two Autumn flashed a smile as she passed photographers on her way into Buckingham Palace
Big smiles! Sophie Wessex beamed as she drove daughter Lady Louise Windsor, 15, to the family meal on Wednesday
Keeping it casual: Sophie Wessex, left, donned her glasses while Lady Louise Windsor, right, sported a trendy denim shirt
Pop of colour: Princess Anne’s daughter-in-law Autumn Phillips donned a purple ensemble for the family gathering
Royal tradition: Princess Anne’s husband Vice Admiral Sir Timothy Lawrence, pictured, looked dapper in a red scarf
The annual event provides the monarch with the opportunity to spend time with members of the extended family who will not be joining her at her Norfolk estate, as well as senior royals.
The Queen and her family usually wait until the day before Christmas to decorate their tree at Sandringham House in Norfolk, gathering in the White Drawing Room on Christmas Eve to put the finishing touches to a 20ft tree cut from the estate.
This year, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, along with George, Charlotte, and Louis, will be celebrating Christmas this year in Norfolk, despite previous reports that they would be spending the day with the Middletons.
It comes amid rumours of a rift between the Cambridges and Sussexes, following the announcement Meghan and Harry will be moving away from Kensington Palace to Frogmore Cottage in Windsor next year.
Dapper: The Duke of Kent arrives with daughter-in-law Sylvana Windsor and granddaughter Lady Marina Windsor
Chic: Lady Helen Taylor, daughter of Edward Duke of Kent, opted for classic black as she joined her family for the meal
Family reunion: Prince Michael of Kent and Princess Michael of Kent arrive in their own car for the royal gathering
Perfectly polished: Lady Rose Gilman, daughter of the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester, with her daughter Lyla Gilman
Coming together: The Duke of Gloucester and wife Birgitte wave to crowds gathered outside Buckingham Palace
Regal in red: Lord Frederick Windsor, son of Prince and Princess Michael of Kent, arrives with wife Sophie Winkleman
Festive colour: Lord Nicholas Windsor arrived with his wife and son Louis Windsor in the back of a black cab