Unlike the past couple of years, you won’t be able to see the Fab Four of the royal family during Christmas this year. Why? Well, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle (and baby Archie, of course) are reportedly skipping Christmas at Sandringham in lieu of spending time with Markle’s family in the United States.
Buckingham Palace confirmed the news on Wednesday, Nov. 13, with an official statement. “The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are looking forward to extended family time towards the end of this month,” the statement read, per PEOPLE. “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. This decision is in line with precedent set previously by other members of the Royal Family, and has the support of Her Majesty The Queen."
While Buckingham Palace did not specify where the couple will be spending the holiday, PEOPLE reported that they're likely to travel to the Los Angeles area, as that is where Markle's mother, Doria Ragland, lives.
As Buckingham Palace noted, this move is not without precedent. In the past, Harry’s brother and sister-in-law, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, spent their holiday with Kate Middleton’s family. Prince William and Middleton spent time with her mother and father, Carole and Michael Middleton, for Christmas in 2016, according to PEOPLE. At the time, the Cambridges, along with their children, Prince George and Princess Charlotte, attended a church service near Middleton's childhood home in Bucklebury.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex won't just be spending Christmas in the United States, they're also reportedly traveling to Los Angeles in late November for Thanksgiving. A source previously told PEOPLE in October, “This would be Harry’s first Thanksgiving in the States." They added, “It will be nice for them to be around people that love them and have him understand her traditions too.”
Interestingly enough, at the time, it was rumored that the couple and their young son would still be spending Christmas with Queen Elizabeth and the rest of the royal family. However, as Buckingham Palace recently confirmed, that will not be the case.
Harry and Markle's Christmas plans are a big change of pace from the last two years. Shortly after announcing their engagement in late November 2017, the duchess got to spend Christmas at Sandringham (a major move considering that she wasn't an "official" member of the family just yet). And in 2018, the duke and duchess made their official debut as a married couple at the holiday event of the season, as they attended church services with William, Middleton, and the rest of the family.