- Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will spend their first Christmas with baby Archie in the US, Buckingham Palace has confirmed.
- “Having spent the last two Christmases at Sandringham, Their Royal Highnesses will spend the holiday this year, as a new family, with the Duchess’ mother Doria Ragland,” a palace spokesperson said in a statement.
- Insider previously reported on the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s plan to have Thanksgiving abroad as part of a six-week sabbatical.
- Royal commentator Richard Fitzwilliams previously told Insider that remaining in the US could portray the message that “they are seeking a separate identity” outside of the royal family.
- Although the royal family typically spend Christmas at Sandringham with the Queen, it’s not uncommon for some royals to go elsewhere.
- For instance, Prince William and Kate Middleton alternate between Sandringham and the duchess’ family.
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
“The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are looking forward to extended family time towards the end of this month,” a palace spokesperson said in a statement.
“Having spent the last two Christmases at Sandringham, Their Royal Highnesses will spend the holiday this year, as a new family, with the Duchess’ mother Doria Ragland.”
— Victoria Murphy (@byQueenVic) November 13, 2019
The statement continues: “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.”
Every Christmas Markle and Harry have previously spent together has been at Sandringham with the rest of the royal family. The Queen even broke royal protocol by inviting the duchess to stay during the Christmas of 2017, before she was married to the prince.
However, it’s definitely not unheard of for royals to spend their Christmas elsewhere. For instance, Kate Middleton and Prince William have alternated between Sandringham and Christmas with the Middleton family throughout the years.
Last month, Insider reported on the duke and duchess’s plan to have Thanksgiving abroad as part of a six-week sabbatical.
Royal commentator Richard Fitzwilliams previously told Insider that the decision to remain in the US for longer than originally planned could portray the message that “they are seeking a separate identity” outside of the royal family.
“It was expected that Meghan and Harry would spend Christmas with the Queen and other members of the royal family at Sandringham,” Fitzwilliams, former editor of “The International Who’s Who” told Insider.
“As we know they will be on a six-week break and are reported to be visiting Meghan’s mother Doria in California. If they do remain there for Christmas it is obvious that this will fuel rumors that they are seeking a separate identity of some sort for themselves,” he said. “However they may just choose this as part of their break.
“The real test however will be what they do decide to do after their six-week break and what path they choose for their future and where,” Fitzwilliams added, referencing the rumors that the couple are considering a permanent move to the US.
Reports have suggested the couple plan to purchase a second home in LA to be close to Markle’s mother, so it’s possible a prolonged Christmas trip could work as a trial-run for this.
If the couple choose to relocate full-time, they may lose their HRH status, like other royals before them have. For instance, Thailand’s Princess Ubolratana lost her royal title after relocating to the US and marrying an American man, Peter Jensen.
However, as the duke and duchess recently expressed their unhappiness with royal life in rare emotional interviews, giving up their titles is something they may have considered.
“They have global pull and whatever decision they make will be global news,” Fitzwilliams said. “It will be very hard for them to find the privacy they seek with the exposure they need as activists.”