Confirmed: Meghan Markle and Prince Harry will not spend Christmas with the Queen

Confirmed: Meghan Markle and Prince Harry will not spend Christmas with the Queen

> Meghan Markle and Prince Harry have reportedly chosen not to spend Christmas with the Queen and royal family at Sandringham. The couple are thought to be spending baby Archie’s first Christmas with Meghan’s mum Doria Ragland in America

Harry has always spent Christmas with the Queen at Sandringham, with the exception of 2012 when he was in Afghanistan. He has been joined by Meghan for the past two years. Reports that the couple have chosen not to join the rest of the royals in Norfolk will do little to quell speculation about Harry and Meghan’s relationship with the family – but it could instead simply reflect a more modern approach to the celebrations. Prince William and Kate famously alternate between Sandringham and the Middletons’ family home in Bucklebury; they spent Prince George‘s first Christmas in 2014 with the royals, while in 2016 the family were spotted attending a Christmas Day church service at St Mark’s Church in Englefield, Berkshire, along with the Duchess’ parents, Carole and Michael, and her siblings, Pippa and James. That year marked Princess Charlotte‘s first Christmas.

Christmas Day at the Middletons’ mansion is said to be a less formal affair than at Sandringham, with the Duchess’s father Michael rumoured to wear fancy dress on the day. At Sandringham, meanwhile, everything from their arrival time to when they eat breakfast and retire to bed, is strictly timetabled. The royals take part in a number of annual traditions, including their ritual visit to St Mary Magdalene Church in Sandringham, and a group viewing of the monarch’s televised Christmas message. Furthermore, the royals exchange their gifts on Christmas Eve, in honour of their German heritage. The official royal website confirms, “On Christmas Eve, the royal family lay out their presents on trestle tables and will exchange their gifts at teatime.” It’s also thought they follow a tradition of gifting each other joke presents. “They enjoy a bit of a giggle – they have a tremendous sense of humour,” Alexandra Messervy, former employee of the royal household, previously revealed.

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