Meghan Markle’s Christmas card ‘on the way’ says expert
Christmas Day will be unrecognisable for the Royal Family this year. With the new coronavirus tier 4 rules set in motion from Sunday morning, the Firm will be even more isolated than what the prior rules had allowed for. It will be a tough period as the Queen has a huge family: four children, eight grandchildren, and nine great-grandchildren from several different households.
While she usually spends Christmas with everyone at Sandringham, this year, Buckingham Palace announced that the Queen will spend the day at Windsor Castle.
She is expected to spend the day with at least one of her children and their family – potentially Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, the Princess Royal and Timothy Laurence, Prince Andrew or Prince Edward and Sophie, Countess of Wessex.
It is a tight-knit time for the royals, with tradition setting out that only blood relatives or those married to one are eligible for an invitation.
In 2017, however, the Queen broke this strict protocol to welcome Meghan Markle, newly engaged to Prince Harry, to celebrate Christmas at Sandringham.
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The Queen: Her Majesty will spend Christmas at Windsor Castle instead of Sandringham this year
As TheTalko explained, while the invitation didn’t at the time seem like a big deal, it was in fact “groundbreaking”.
Reports suggest the Queen was willing to look beyond the fact that Meghan and Harry were not yet married.
She even used her Christmas Day speech to officially welcome her into the family, having a photo of the newly engaged couple placed next to her.
Doria Ragland, Meghan’s mother, was also invited to spend Christmas with the royals – an “unprecedented” move as no other royal in-laws, like Carole Middleton, have ever received an invitation from the Queen.
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Meghan Markle: The Queen welcomed Meghan at Christmas in 2017 despite her not yet being married
As The Daily Telegraph noted at the time: “Markle’s inclusion has been widely interpreted as a relaxation of convention.”
Harry is later quoted as having said Meghan had a “fantastic” time during her first royal Christmas at Sandringham with “the family she’s never had”.
The pair also spent Christmas 2018 with the Firm, attending services at Sandringham, all smiles.
Yet, the following year both Meghan, Harry and their newborn son, Archie, were nowhere to be seen.
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Royal Christmas: Harry and Meghan also accompanied the royals for Christmas in 2018
Queen’s speech: Her Majesty notably left-out any mention of Harry and Meghan in her 2019 address
They had announced in November that they planned to have a “private” Christmas, explaining in a statement that the Queen had given her support for the move.
And while it isn’t required that royals spend Christmas at Sandringham each year, with the introduction of Archie, the move was largely seen as a snub to the Queen, despite her approval.
Instead, Harry and Meghan spent their Christmas abroad, in Canada – an eerie premonition of things to come.
Many have suggested that this hurt the Queen, pointing to her 2019 Christmas speech, in which she included a nod to all the incoming kings, with pictures of the Cambridge and Cornwall families besides her.
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No mention of Harry or Meghan was made.
Speaking on royal podcast Pod Save the Queen, royal author Robert Lacey said the Queen’s omission alluded to growing “suspicion” in the family.
He added the wariness had revolved around the emerging Sussex Royal brand.
Mr Lacey said: “The picture of the Sussexes that had been on the royal desk the year before had vanished.
The Firm: The couple will have a much quieter Christmas this year
“There was no mention in the Queen’s broadcast of the word ‘Sussex’.
“She did mention and welcome her eighth great-grandchild, but she didn’t say the word Archie.
“Clearly there was suspicion building up inside the family and inside the palaces about what this project that Sussex Royal, that Harry and Meghan were launching, was all about.”