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Harry and Meghan ‘not joining Queen’ for Archie’s first Christmas

UK News | Published:

The couple are understood to be missing out on the royal festivities at Sandringham this year.

Christmas Day Church service

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex and their baby son Archie will be spending Christmas in the US and not with the Queen at Sandringham, the PA news agency understands.

It is not clear whether Harry and Meghan have invited Doria Ragland to spend time with them in the UK or will travel to the US over the festive period but there is speculation they couple could take their son to experience his first Thanksgiving in the States.

The Queen is said to be supportive of the Sussexes’ plans and it follows the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s past decision to spend Christmas with Kate’s parents and not with the Queen.

The Sussex family
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex holding their son Archie (Toby Melville/PA)

Meghan and Harry have spent the last two Christmases with the head of state, Duke of Edinburgh and other members of the royal family at the monarch’s private home in Norfolk, including before they were married.

But they have decided to take Archie to spend the holidays with his grandmother Doria Ragland, something that has been the subject of much speculation.

The duke and Californian-born duchess are said to be taking a six-week break from royal duties.

A source said the couple have not yet finalised where to spend Christmas.

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Options are thought to include their Windsor home Frogmore Cottage, remaining with Ms Ragland in America, or even a foreign holiday.

Well-wishers gather each year to see the royals take their traditional stroll on December 25 to the morning service at the Church of St Mary Magdalene in Sandringham.

The Windsors enjoy a festive lunch back at Sandringham House and then settle down together to watch the Queen’s Christmas Day speech.

 Christmas Day Church service
Harry and Meghan joining the royals on their way to the Christmas Day morning church service at St Mary Magdalene Church in Sandringham, Norfolk in 2017 (Joe Giddens/PA)

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Over the past year, Harry and Meghan have faced reports of a rift, first between Meghan and the Duchess of Cambridge and then between Harry and his brother the Duke of Cambridge.

In a television documentary last month, Harry, when asked about the situation, said he loved his brother dearly but they were “on different paths at the moment” and have “good days” and “bad days” in their relationship.

William, the Queen and other senior royals were said to have been left “very worried” about the Sussexes after their emotional appearance in the ITV programme, filmed on their recent tour to Africa.

Royal visit to Africa
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex in Johannesburg, South Africa (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

Harry described his mental health and the way he deals with the pressures of his life as a matter of “constant management”.

Meghan admitted feeling vulnerable, and spoke of the difficulty in coping with intense tabloid interest, saying: “It’s not enough to just survive something, that’s not the point of life. You have got to thrive.”

The couple’s high-profile visit to Africa, carried out at the request of the Government, was overshadowed on the penultimate day when the duke condemned the British tabloid press, as Meghan launched a lawsuit against Associated Newspapers.

The duchess is suing over an alleged breach of copyright and privacy after the Mail on Sunday published a private letter between her and her estranged father.

The newspaper said it stands by its story and will be “defending this case vigorously”.

Buckingham Palace declined to comment.

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