When the royals gather for Christmas this year, there will be some notable absentees as well as some new additions around the dinner table at Sandringham.
Despite rumors that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle hope to travel to the UK for the holidays, Vanity Fair has learned they will not be coming to England to join King Charles and the royal family for the festive season.
According to one royal insider, there is “no chance” of Harry, Meghan, and their children, Prince Archie and Princess Lilibet, being invited to join the royal family because there is still so much “hostility” toward them.
Last month, Harry and Meghan spoke with King Charles for his 75th birthday, with Archie and Lilibet sweetly singing “Happy Birthday” to the monarch in a video recording, which led to speculation about the possibility of a reunion. Yet VF has learned there has been little communication between the Sussexes and the king since then.
The source added that while King Charles “would love” to have all of his family together at Christmas he is “nervous” about inviting Harry and Meghan into the inner sanctum. “The king would love nothing more than to have Christmas with his sons and all his grandchildren, but it’s not that simple and there is no chance the Sussexes will be coming. It would make things very difficult because there is still so much hostility towards Harry and Meghan, particularly from the Prince and Princess of Wales,” they said. “Charles is also deeply nervous about the risks of conversations being leaked by the Sussex camp, which is why there have been very few of them.”
While Harry and Meghan have been quiet about royal matters in recent months, there has been negative fallout following the November release of Omid Scobie’s book Endgame in which the names of the royals who allegedly made comments about the color of Archie’s skin ahead of his birth were published in the Dutch edition. One source who recently spent time with senior members says, “The king finds these suggestions about racism extraordinary and frankly unbelievable. It is all so far removed from the truth and what was actually said.”
Sources close to Prince William and Princess Kate say they would not want to be in the same room as Harry and Meghan “let alone spend Christmas with them.”
In keeping with a tradition they started shortly after their wedding, William and Kate will enjoy Christmas day with the royal family, and then a second Christmas at Anmer Hall with the Middleton family.
And in a break with tradition, Queen Camilla’s children Tom Parker Bowles and Laura Lopes, along with their families, have been invited to join the royals this Christmas. In previous years, Camilla has left Sandringham after Christmas dinner to host her own family dinner at Ray Mill, her home in Wiltshire. Camilla is very close with her children and five grandchildren. Her sister Annabel Elliot, who serves as one of Camilla’s personal aides, will also attend the celebrations.
According to reports, because of the additional numbers, Christmas dinner will be served in the white drawing room rather than the dining room where the late queen used to host the festive meal.
While King Charles is ringing in the changes as a new monarch, he is keen to maintain the traditions his mother enjoyed. The entire royal family will attend church on Christmas morning and meet members of the public afterward.
Charles, who is overseeing an extensive refurbishment of Sandringham’s gardens, will also stay in Norfolk for New Year’s Eve. Usually, the king welcomes the New Year in Scotland, but sources say he will extend his Norfolk break and head to the Highlands later in January.