THE ROYALS FAMILY ARE GEARING UP TO SPEND THE CHRISTMAS.
Browsing a Christmas tree lot near their home in Montecito, California, on December 1, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle purposefully picked a time when the place would be quiet and fuss free. The plan worked. “There was one family in there, and their stoked little son ran through trees up to Harry and asked if he worked here not knowing who that is,” an employee shared on Twitter after their visit. For the second year running, the Sussexes and their son Archie, now 19 months, are choosing to celebrate their festive season without fanfare. Last year, their decision to ditch long-held royal family holiday traditions in favor of a quiet Christmas with Meghan’s mum Doria Ragland, 64, at a rented home on Vancouver Island in Canada was one of the first signs the couple was planning to step back as senior members of the royal family. Since 1988, the royals have spent the holidays at Sandringham and their Christmas Day ritual of walking together to services at the estate’s St Mary Magdalene Church has become an annual event for royal watchers – with many lining up to greet the family as they make their way to the church. This year, the UK’s coronavirus guidelines state only three households will be permitted to gather at Christmas, and the Queen, 94, and Prince Philip, 99, have opted to stay at Windsor Castle for the holidays for the first time in over three decades. “The Queen is acutely aware of the need for caution throughout the crisis and the Christmas period is no different,” said a palace source. “The Queen and the duke are fortunate to spend Christmas with their family every year. They may see some members of their family, but understand family will have competing demands over the Christmas period and are content to have a quiet festive period this year. Like everyone, their hope is that normality will return in 2021.”
According to reports, Prince William, 38, and Kate Middleton, also 38, and their three children are expected to spend Christmas Day with Kate’s family in Bucklebury for the first time since 2016. Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, are likely to be spending their time at Highgrove House in Gloucestershire – but insiders say the family will all chat via Zoom on the day. Across the pond, according to UK’s Daily Mirror, Harry, 36, and Meghan, 39, always intended to go their own way, regardless of the restrictions. “They want to get on with their new lives,” says a source. “Christmas with Harry’s family is not in the plan.” For now, as tensions continue to thaw, time apart is needed. “While things are better between Harry and his brother, it’s not what it was,” a source tells Vanity Fair. “I don’t think anyone is ready for a cozy family Christmas right now.”