Meghan Markle will be introduced to a very important royal tradition when she spends Christmas with the Queen: hunting

By Phil Boucher
December 14, 2017 01:43 PM
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Meghan Markle will be introduced to a very important royal tradition when she spends Christmas with the Queen: hunting.

The animal lover is devoted to her rescue pups Bogart and Guy and has been vocal about her love for vegan leather, yet all of the royal family members enjoy the country life — and during the festive season that means picking up a shotgun and taking part in the Boxing Day shoot on Queen Elizabeth’s Sandringham estate.

“The estate lends itself to shooting. It’s a paradise for it,” former royal bodyguard, Ken Wharfe, tells PEOPLE about the festive partridge shoot. “Everything is in place for it.”

Both Prince William and Kate Middleton are known to take part in the festive shoot and even host shooting parties of their own at their nearby country home, Anmer Hall.

Prince Harry, who is passionate about his conservation efforts in Africa, is also a keen marksman and even spent two days last week hunting wild boar in a private forest in Görlsdorf, Germany, owned by Albrecht Fürst zu Oettingen-Oettingen und Oettingen-Spielberg, a close friend who attended Will and Kate’s wedding.

It’s also thought that Harry stayed with Franz-Albrecht on his private estate in one of the small, discreet cottages hidden within the vast woodland.

“In the last years a lot of prominent people from Germany have visited the Görlsdorf forest,” a local source tells PEOPLE of Harry’s weekend visit to the region, which is one hour north of Berlin. “But last week it was the highest security ever! Nobody knew anything about what was happening.”

“Franz Albrecht has a big old castle from the family in Bayern,” the local continues about the German aristocrat, whose family hails from Bavaria. “In Görlsdorf he has two houses in his private forest. But they’re not so big and not many people can stay there. It’s only for family and the most special guests.”

Should she take part in the shoot, Meghan, like most of the royal women, including Sophie, Countess of Wessex who was photographed on a shoot during Christmastime, will be paired up with a guest – someone who is not her husband – for the competitive event. The women either take part in the shooting of partridges and pheasants or help with tallying their partner’s haul. She will then dine on fried slices of leftover royal Christmas pudding wrapped in wax paper — possibly while sitting around a cozy fire in a wood cabin at the heart of the estate.

Credit: Chris Jackson/Getty

All of this is a far cry from the healthy eater who snacked on almonds, raisins, homemade soup and Kombucha – a type of fermented black tea – on the set of Suits.

“I usually grab some kale salad and steamed vegetables with a side of hummus and lots of hot sauce (either Habanero or Sriracha),” Markle told food website The New Potato in November 2013. “Or a crudités and hummus plate, sliced apples with almond butter sprinkled with sea salt.”