Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have not returned to the United Kingdom since they made their final appearances as working royals back in March. The couple has settled into their new lives in the United States, and the pandemic hindered any potential plans for the two to return to the U.K. this year. But what does that mean for Christmas with the queen — one of the oldest royal family traditions?
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle might be relieved that the pandemic has halted travel plans
Harry and Meghan made the joint decision last year to forego spending Christmas with the royal family. Rather, the two made arrangements to take a six-week break in North America, all of which was spent in Canada. Upon returning, they announced that they were stepping down from their roles as senior royals in favor of a quieter life in California.
Their absence from the royal family Christmas last year was noted by tabloids everywhere, and it painted the couple in a negative light, with reports that the royals were devastated the two chose to bow out. And, though it’s unclear how they feel about spending Christmas in America this year, it’s possible that it’s exactly what they wanted. Not having to deal with the media in that decision might be a silver lining for the couple, though it’s hard to tell for sure.
The duke and duchess will likely still spend Christmas with the queen — over Zoom
Harry and Meghan haven’t disclosed their holiday plans, though royal experts are certain they will interact with Harry’s family in some capacity. According to Marie Claire, the queen is “very sad” that Harry and Meghan aren’t flying in to celebrate Christmas. “I am sure the Queen will be very sad not to see Harry and Megan and her youngest great-grandchild,” royal biographer Penny Junor told the magazine, adding that Harry will likely miss spending time with his cousins. Still, Junor thinks the two will Zoom in to the royals’ celebration, at least spending time with the queen in some capacity.
“I imagine that they will follow whatever traditions Megan grew up with,” Junor said of the Sussex’s holiday plans.” “But I am sure they will make a Zoom call to the Royal Family at some point on Christmas Day.”
The royal family has kept gatherings small since the pandemic started
Harry and Meghan’s absence isn’t the only reason that Christmas with the queen will look a bit different this year. The pandemic has certainly put a damper on large gatherings, and the royals aren’t ignoring the rules. Though some, such as Prince William and Prince Charles, have already beaten Covid-19, it’s still unsafe, given the queen and Philips’s ages, for the whole family to get together.
The queen will likely only spend the holiday with Prince Philip at Windsor, but hopefully an entire royal family Zoom will take place, at the very least.
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