After spending two Christmases at the countryside Sandringham estate with the royal family, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are going to do something different this Christmas. The couple, with baby Archie in tow, will be spending the festive season with Meghan’s mother Doria Ragland instead, according to their spokesperson. It is not clear if they will be visiting the US or if she will meet them in the UK.
“The Duke and Duchess are looking forward to extended family time towards the end of this month,” the spokesperson said, according to town&country. “Having spent the last two Christmases at Sandringham, their Royal Highnesses will spend the holidays this year, as a new family, with the Duchess’ mother Doria Ragland.”
“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,” the official statement said. The precedent mentioned refers to other royal family members, like the Cambridges, spending Christmas away from Sandringham estate previously.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are on a break from their royal family duties and the couple has been struggling with media attention recently, which makes the break from the royal duties more crucial. After a whirlwind 2018, the year they got married and announced their pregnancy, and 2019’s Africa tour, the couple wants some quiet time this festive season.
In 2018, it was a family affair after the two royal brothers and their wives spent Christmas in the private home of Queen Elizabeth II. The Cambridges and Sussexes were seen strolling to a church service as hundreds of people looked on.
They followed Prince Charles to the church, with the two sisters-in-law walking alongside, according to Time.
The Christmas tradition for the British royal family includes spending time with royal relatives, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren of the queen. Everyone gathers at the Norfolk estate to exchange gifts on Christmas Eve, have dinner together, attend services at the nearby St. Mary Magdalene Church on Christmas Day and have a turkey lunch together. The gifts exchanged are “joke gifts” and their motto is “cheap and cheerful.” For instance, before Prince Harry met Meghan Markle, Kate had gifted him a grow-your-own-girlfriend kit, according to Her.ie. Markle, who caught on to the joke pretty quickly, had gifted the Queen a singing toy hamster in 2018, which the monarch loved.
Princess Diana spent every year with her family until December 1995, after she had separated from Prince Charles. While they had celebrated the festive time together despite their separation the previous few years, in 1995 she spent it alone in her Kensington Palace apartment, according to Instyle. It was the first time she decided to spend the holiday away from her children. The reason she chose to do so was that she had given the controversial BBC interview only a month before.
Her last Christmas was in 1996 with the royal family and her children. She was photographed walking on Bond Street in Central London with a bouquet of flowers in her hand, according to LatinTimes.