Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have been doing things their own way this holiday season, and the royal couple is now set to make another departure from tradition and skip the queen's annual Christmas parties this week.
The Daily Mail reports that the Sussexes will not be attending the monarch's party at Buckingham Palace Monday night as well as the traditional pre-Christmas lunch at the palace on Wednesday. According to sources, Markle and Harry have "no plans" to return to the United Kingdom ahead of the new year.
"As the couple made clear a few weeks ago, they are taking some time away together as a family," one source said. "This means that they will miss Christmas events."
Last month, a spokesperson for the couple confirmed that Markle and Harry would not be partaking in the royal family's holiday festivities this year.
"The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are looking forward to extended family time towards the end of this month," the spokesperson said in a statement. "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 statement continued, "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."
Markle and Harry are not the first royal pair to make alternate holiday arrangements, as Prince William and Kate Middleton spent Christmas with Middleton's family in 2012. Another source told the Daily Mail that the Sussexes absence intended no snub "whatsoever."
The new parents and their 7-month-old son, Archie, spent Thanksgiving in America with Markle's mom, Doria Ragland, and are currently on a six-week break from royal duties. They will reportedly spend Christmas with Ragland at an undisclosed location abroad.
Royal reporter Omid Scobie shared on The HeirPod podcast that Markle and Harry "celebrated Thanksgiving privately with close family, which is lovely." Scobie added that the Sussexes "on their break right up until Christmas."
A source told Vanity Fair in November that the couple was looking forward to their first Thanksgiving as a family of three.
"It has always been important to Meghan that Archie grows up aware of his American heritage and they plan to spend more time in the States as he grows up," a friend of the Duchess shared. "They've not had much time off and this feels like the right moment to take a proper break."
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