National News

Harry, Meghan to spend Christmas in US

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex and their baby son Archie will be spending Christmas in the US and not with the Queen at Sandringham, the PA news agency understands.

Harry and Meghan's trip to the US over the festive period is likely to begin around Thanksgiving, which this year falls on November 28.

The Queen is said to be supportive of the Sussexes' plans and it follows the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's past decision to spend Christmas with Kate's parents and not with the Queen.

Meghan and Harry have spent the past two Christmases with the head of state, Duke of Edinburgh and other members of the royal family at the monarch's private home in Norfolk, including before they were married.

But they have decided to take Archie to spend the holidays with his grandmother Doria Ragland, something that has been the subject of much speculation.

The duke and Californian-born duchess are said to be taking a six-week break from royal duties.

A source said the couple have not yet finalised where to spend Christmas.

Options are thought to include their Windsor home Frogmore Cottage, remaining with Ragland in America, or even a foreign holiday.

Well-wishers gather each year to see the royals take their traditional stroll on December 25 to the morning service at the Church of St Mary Magdalene in Sandringham.

The Windsors enjoy a festive lunch back at Sandringham House and then settle down together to watch the Queen's Christmas Day speech.

Over the past year, Harry and Meghan have faced reports of a rift, first between Meghan and the Duchess of Cambridge and then between Harry and his brother Prince William.

In a television documentary last month, Harry, when asked about the situation, said he loved his brother dearly but they were "on different paths at the moment" and have "good days" and "bad days" in their relationship.

William, the Queen and other senior royals were said to have been left "very worried" about the Sussexes after their emotional appearance in the ITV program, filmed on their recent tour to Africa.

Harry described his mental health and the way he deals with the pressures of his life as a matter of "constant management".

Meghan admitted feeling vulnerable, and spoke of the difficulty in coping with intense tabloid interest, saying: "It's not enough to just survive something, that's not the point of life. You have got to thrive."

© PAA 2019