CONFIRMED: Harry and Meghan are skipping Christmas with the Queen. Surely no one will blow this hugely out of proportion!
Buckingham Palace has confirmed that the Sussexes will be doing their own thing this year. Royal reporter Omid Scobie had the statement on his Twitter: “The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are looking forward to extended family time towards the end of this month. Having spent the last two Christmases at Sandringham, [the couple] will spend the holiday this year, as a new family, with the Duchess’ mother Doria.”
The question is: Where are they celebrating, instead? (Buckingham Palace wouldn’t confirm, as a security measure.) Katie Nicholl at Vanity Fair reported that they might be in America. They were already planning to spend Thanksgiving in Los Angeles with Meghan’s mother, Doria Ragland. (I, too, would cross the Atlantic for the premiere American festival of overeating, had I married a royal.) They were also already taking six weeks off at the end of the year—living out the fantasies of everyone who has to keep showing up for work in December—and so they might just stick around for Christmas, too. A source told her: “They will be in America for Thanksgiving later this month and there’s a chance they might choose to stay out there a while longer which might mean missing Christmas.” Nicholl added that, “Several sources said that they may want to stay longer in the United States because they are still searching for a potential second home in Los Angeles.”
Now let’s put this into perspective. There’s definitely a precedent for them skipping. Nicholl checked in with Sally Bedell Smith, who has written biographies of both Queen Elizabeth and Prince Charles. Smith said Lizzie won’t want the “feud” rumors to get any worse and noted that Harry and Meghan skipped Balmoral this summer, but Sandringham isn’t a totally inflexible command performance:
“The Queen is pretty tolerant and she may not begrudge them missing Christmas given Meghan’s mother is in the States. It will be a useful time for the couple to re stock re assess and decide how they want to move forwards. Christmas at Sandringham is a deeply embedded tradition in the royal family however and it’s expected that everyone will be there, but the Queen does sometimes make allowances.”
And in fact, in the past, Will and Kate have done Christmases with Kate’s parents. The Buckingham Palace spokesperson who confirmed Harry and Meghan would be doing Christmas on their own even pointed this out: “This decision is in line with precedent set previously by other members of the Royal Family, and has the support of Her Majesty The Queen.”
But it sounds like the Sussexes do have reasons beyond a deep love of American traditions to sit this one out. Another source told Nicholl: “The feeling is that Harry and Meghan have rather alienated themselves from the rest of the family. If they do come for Christmas it might be a particularly frosty one.” Weather in Los Angeles sounds much, much nicer anyway.