Harry and Meghan turn down Queen's Christmas invitation to 'avoid frenzy'
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are expected to spend Christmas in California this year, despite rumours they were planning to reunite with the Queen and the Royal Family over the festive period.
According to an insider, who spoke to Page Six, Her Majesty extended an invite to the Sussexes to join her at Sandringham for the holidays – where The Firm have celebrated Christmas since the 1980s.
But Harry and Meghan have reportedly turned the invitation down in the hopes of "avoiding a media frenzy." Instead, the pair will celebrate at home in Montecito, California with their two children, two-year-old Archie and five-month-old Lilibet. The last time the Sussexes celebrated Christmas at Sandringham was 2018, just 13 months before they announced they were stepping down as Senior Royals.
"There's a lot that goes into the logistics and the planning of the family Christmas, so of course, staff know that Harry and Meghan are not coming," the source revealed. "If they were, they would have communicated it to their family by now."
As for why the couple wouldn't be returning to the UK, the insider added: "I think everyone understands there will be a frenzy when they both come back to the UK, but they need to rip the [Band-Aid] off and get on with it."
This Christmas will be the Queen's first without her husband Prince Philip, who sadly passed away in April this year at the age of 99. Because of that, many expected the entire Royal Family to rally around her Majesty for support. "This is Her Majesty’s first Christmas without her husband, so one would have hoped they would want to be with her," the source pointed out.
Other Royals who'll join the Queen at Sandringham (where she reportedly feels closest to her late husband) include: Prince Charles, Camilla Parker-Bowles, Prince William, Kate Middleton and, of course, the Cambridge children, Prince George (8), Princess Charlotte (6) and Prince Louis (3).
News of the Sussexes declining Her Majesty's invite comes just days after she was forced to pull out of Sunday's Remembrance Service at the last minute due to a back injury – despite the palace earlier announcing it was her "firm intention" to attend. The event was due to be her first public appearance following a two-week rest order and a short hospital stay. The health scare also saw her pull out of COP26 in Glasgow, Scotland, although she resumed some "light duties" via Zoom where possible.
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