James O'Brien 10am - 1pm
Harry and Meghan confirm Archie's first Christmas will be with Duchess's mum Doria Ragland
13 November 2019, 19:22
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex will not be spending Archie's first Christmas at Sandringham with the rest of the Royal family, it has been confirmed.
Harry and Meghan are planning to head across the pond to spend the festive season with the Duchess's mother, Doria Ragland, having spent the last two years at Sandringham with the rest of the Duke's family.
Although the exact dates of their trip are being kept as a closely guarded secret, their travels are likely to begin around Thanksgiving, which this year falls on November 28.
A Buckingham Palace spokesperson said: “The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are looking forward to extended family time towards the end of this month.
“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."
The spokesperson added it was "in line with precedent set previously by other members of the Royal Family, and has the support of Her Majesty The Queen."
The Duchess of Cambridge has also previously spent Christmases with her family instead of the annual gathering with the head of state in Norfolk.
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.
The Windsors enjoy a festive lunch back at Sandringham House and then settle down together to watch the Queen's Christmas Day speech.
Harry and Meghan are said to be taking a six-week break from royal duties in the midst of a rift between Harry and the Duke of Cambridge.
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 programme, 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."
The couple's high-profile visit to Africa, carried out at the request of the Government, was overshadowed on the penultimate day when the duke condemned the British tabloid press, as Meghan launched a lawsuit against Associated Newspapers.
The duchess is suing over an alleged breach of copyright and privacy after the Mail on Sunday published a private letter between her and her estranged father.
The newspaper said it stands by its story and will be "defending this case vigorously".