We all know holidays with family can be stressful, which is perhaps why Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s Christmas plans reportedly do not include attending the Queen’s annual festivities at Sandringham. Rather, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex apparently want to celebrate baby Archie’s first big holiday by spending it somewhere together as a family of three. Who doesn’t love a new Christmas tradition, right?
According to The Sun, Harry and Meghan have already let the Queen know that they have decided not to participate in her annual royal family holiday. A royal source claims the decision reflects a deviation from their original plan, which was to spend Thanksgiving in the U.S. with Meghan’s mom, Doria Ragland, and then return to the U.K. for Christmas at Sandringham. However, Harry and Meghan reportedly realized they need a little more space. “They need some time away to recharge and decide their plans for next year,” the source said.
Considering Harry has historically spent every Christmas but one at the Queen’s Norfolk home (the exception being his 2012 deployment to Afghanistan), the 2019 holiday will be a departure for the prince in more ways than one — and for Meghan as well, who joined Harry at Sandringham the past two years.
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“Through the many changes I have seen over the years – faith, family and friendship have been not only a constant for me but a source of personal comfort and reassurance. Even with the most deeply held differences, treating the other person with respect and as a fellow human-being is always a good first step towards greater understanding.” — On Christmas Day visit @TheRoyalFamily to watch The Queen’s Christmas broadcast from 3pm GMT. 📷PA
So, why the change of heart? Well, it goes without saying that there could be tension in the royal family following Harry and Meghan’s recent candid ITV interview. Or maybe Harry and Meghan simply crave some alone time with their son. According to royal biographer Ingrid Seward, though, the decision likely won’t go over entirely well with the rest of the royal family.
“Christmas at Sandringham can be quite stressful, so perhaps they don’t want to go with Archie at such a young age. Having said that, Sandringham has played host to many, many children through the ages and is well set up for them,” Seward told The Sun, adding, “I think it’s sad they don’t want to be part of the family gathering, particularly now the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh are in their dotage. The Queen might be a little hurt but she’s far too gracious to ever let it show or be shown.”
If you ask Seward, the decision to skip out on the Queen’s Christmas festivities has more to do with the Duke and Duchess’ feelings as of late than with forging new traditions: “It does seem to be nothing to do with Archie and to do with their own personal feelings.”