Harry and Meghan won't spend Christmas with the Queen, couple confirm

Rhiannon Mills, royal correspondent
Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, looks on as Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, gives a speech
Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, looks on as Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, gives a speech

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex will not spend Christmas with the Queen at Sandringham, a spokesperson for the couple has told Sky News.

Harry and Meghan are said to be "looking forward to extended family time" at the end of the month.

The spokesperson added: "Having spent the last two Christmases at Sandringham, their royal highnesses will spend the holiday this year, as a new family, with the duchess' mother Doria Ragland."

It is not yet know where the couple, along with Meghan's mother and baby Archie will be for Christmas - but the spokesperson said the decision "has the support of her majesty the Queen".

It is understood the duke and duchess are due to begin a six-week break next week, after carrying out a number of engagements early in November and their busy tour of Africa in September and October.

Word of this break increased speculation that they may not join the rest of the Royal Family in Norfolk for Christmas.

Last month, their decision to take some time out was described by a palace source as "some much needed family time" after their son Archie was born in May.

It is anticipated they will spend time in the UK and America, possibly spending Thanksgiving with Meghan's mother.

Thousands queue up to watch the Windsors walk to St Mary Magdelene church on Christmas morning.

Last year, cameras were fixed on the Duke and Duchess of Sussex and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, who were seen walking alongside each other after rumours of a rift between the couples.

Those rumours have grown over the past year, and were fuelled further last month when Prince Harry was asked about the situation in a documentary.

He 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.

The duke and duchess also talked in the TV programme about the difficulties they have faced due to the constant media scrutiny since they got married and had their first child.

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The Sussexes are not the first couple to opt to spend time with the in-laws in recent years.

Prince William and Kate didn't go to Norfolk in 2016 and instead spent Christmas Day in Berkshire with the Middleton family.