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Why Are Prince Harry & Meghan Markle Missing Queen Elizabeth’s Holiday Festivities This Week?

With the holidays in full swing, it seems everyone is celebrating. But one royal couple likely won’t be photographed at any festivities this year — Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are skipping Queen Elizabeth II’s annual pre-Christmas party on Monday night, and that won’t be the only royal holiday tradition they’re bowing out of. Here’s why the House of Sussex will be MIA for this week’s first round of the Queen’s seasonal celebrations.

It’ll be a busy week for Queen Elizabeth and the rest of the royal family. On Monday night, members of the monarchy will attend a pre-Christmas party at Buckingham Palace to thank the royal staff. On Wednesday, they’ll gather at the palace for their annual pre-Christmas lunch. However, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle (not to mention baby Archie) reportedly won’t make an appearance at either event.

According to the Daily Mail, the Sussex family is still abroad as part of their end-of-year vacation. “As the couple made clear a few weeks ago, they are taking some time away together as a family,” one source told the outlet. “This means that they will miss Christmas events.” Another source made sure to stress that there was no snub “whatsoever” behind Harry and Meghan’s absence.

Of course, that doesn’t mean much won’t be made of the fact that Harry and Meghan aren’t spending baby Archie’s first Christmas with the rest of the royal family. Realizing this, the palace tried to squash any rumors of family drama when they confirmed the Sussex family’s travel. In addition to reiterating that Harry and Meghan would be taking “extended family time,” a spokesperson for the Sussexes underscored that “the decision is in line with precedent set previously by other members of the Royal Family and has the support of Her Majesty the Queen.”

So, where will Harry and Meghan be while the rest of the royals are kicking off their traditional holiday celebrations? Per the couple’s statement regarding their “family time,” they’re enjoying the holidays with Meghan’s mom, Doria Ragland — and it’s widely rumored they’re doing so in Southern California, where Ragland lives.

But don’t worry; they’ll be back in the royal spotlight soon. Per the Mail, “They will return to the UK, possibly as late as early January, to launch their new charity after splitting from the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.”

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