Every year, the Queen holds a Christmas party at Buckingham Palace to thank royal staff for everything they’ve done over the last 12 months. But it will be missing two members of the family, since Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan will not attend, reports say.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, who are still on their six-week break from royal duties, are said to have already informed Her Majesty that they will not attend, according to the Daily Mail. The Queen is said to be understanding of their situation and supports their decision.
“As the couple made clear a few weeks ago, they are taking some time away together as a family,” a source told the publication. “This means that they will miss Christmas events.”
It’s thought the Sussexes and their son Archie are in the United States, where they’re said to be spending time with Doria Ragland, Meghan’s mother. Recent reports suggested they spent American Thanksgiving with her.
Given that they are still on their break, this likely means Harry and Meghan will not attend the Queen’s annual pre-Christmas lunch with members of the Royal Family, which is also to take place later this week. They’ve been there in previous years.
As was previously reported, Meghan and Harry will not attend Christmas with the Royal Family at Sandringham this year, and have plans to spend the holiday with Doria. It’s not known whether they’ll do so in the United States or at home at Frogmore Cottage in Windsor.
The decision isn’t unusual, and has the support of the Queen. This isn’t the first time a royal couple haven’t attended the family Christmas. Duchess Kate and Prince William spent their holidays in 2012 and 2016 with Michael and Carole Middleton, Kate’s parents.