Harry & Meghan tell the Queen: We WON’T be with you at Christ­mas

RICHARD KAY

Scottish Daily Mail - - Front Page - By Re­becca English Royal Correspond­ent

THE Duke and Duchess of Sussex will not join the Royal Fam­ily for Christ­mas at San­dring­ham, Buck­ing­ham Palace said last night.

A spokesman re­vealed they will in­stead spend the fes­tive sea­son with Meghan’s mother Do­ria Ragland and their baby son, Archie, at an undis­closed lo­ca­tion.

In­trigu­ingly, sources said the Queen had no idea of her grand­son’s plans un­til he rang her yes­ter­day at Buck­ing­ham Palace to in­form her. She is said to be ‘sup­port­ive’ and un­der­stands that the cou­ple want time out of the spot­light and for Meghan to be able to spend her first Christ­mas with her mother for two years.

A spokesman for the Sus­sexes said: ‘Hav­ing spent the last two Christ­mases at San­dring­ham, their Royal High­nesses will spend the hol­i­day this year, as a new fam­ily, with the duchess’s 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.

‘For se­cu­rity rea­sons, we will not be pro­vid­ing fur­ther de­tails on their sched­ule at this time.’

Although the Palace stressed that the cou­ple’s de­ci­sion to miss the Royal Fam­ily’s tra­di­tional Christ­mas cel­e­bra­tions on the monarch’s Nor­folk es­tate was in no way seen as a ‘snub’, it comes af­ter they turned down an in­vi­ta­tion to join her at Bal­moral this sum­mer.

But an aide in­sisted: ‘The duke and duchess see a lot of the Queen as they now live at Wind­sor. That’s why they didn’t go to Scot­land this sum­mer and why the

‘Se­nior roy­als kept in dark’

Queen is sup­port­ive of their de­ci­sion about Christ­mas.’

The cou­ple could spend it qui­etly at their new Wind­sor home with Miss Ragland for the first time – seen as the most likely op­tion – or go abroad, ei­ther to the US or even Africa, which Harry views as his ‘sec­ond home’.

Harry’s brother and sis­terin-law, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, will spend Christ­mas at their Nor­folk home, An­mer Hall, with their chil­dren Prince Ge­orge, six, Princess Char­lotte, four, and Prince Louis, one, and at­tend church with the monarch on Christ­mas Day.

Palace staff and even se­nior roy­als had been kept in the dark about Harry and Meghan’s plans un­til yes­ter­day.

One source said: ‘When ques­tions about what the duke and duchess would be do­ing were asked at the week­end, the cou­ple said they still hadn’t de­cided.

‘The duke rang her per­son­ally at Buck­ing­ham Palace late in the after­noon to tell Her Majesty.’

Harry has one last of­fi­cial en­gage­ment on Sun­day be­fore he and Meghan be­gin a six-week sab­bat­i­cal to spend time as a fam­ily.

Wil­liam and Kate have pre­vi­ously spent Christ­mas with the Mid­dle­tons in Buck­le­bury, Berk­shire. But some royal aides felt an ap­pear­ance by the Sus­sexes might have helped stem spec­u­la­tion about their iso­la­tion from the rest of the fam­ily.

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