Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are “unlikely” to join the Royal Family at the Sandringham country retreat for their first Christmas without Queen Elizabeth II, it has been claimed. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex quit life as working members of the Royal Family in the early part of 2020 when they moved from the UK to instead live in the US. They were last publicly together in the UK in September to attend charitable events, before later attending the state funeral of the Queen.
King Charles III is understood to have invited Harry and Meghan to Sandringham for Christmas, but it is now looking likely the couple will not be making the trans-Atlantic trip.
A source close to the King told MailOnline: “They are unlikely to attend.”
The Queen died on September 8 at her Balmoral estate in Scotland, with her eldest son Charles later becoming the new monarch as he was next in line to the throne.
It will be the first he hosts the annual Royal Family gathering and the Christmas break at the country retreat in Norfolk.
The Prince and Princess of Wales, along with their children Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis, will be there.
They will be staying at nearby Amber Hall in Norfolk, which was the home they were given by the Queen.
Several other members of the Royal Family are expected to join the Kin and hius wife the Queen Consort on their walk to church on Christmas morning.
Sandringham has been where members of the Royal Family have gathered for Christmas and New Year since 1988.
The COVID pandemic sweeping through the country forced a change in that annual routine over the last few years.
This Christmas, the royals are expected to celebrate Christmas at the Norfolk estate as they come together for their first Christmas since the death of the Queen.
But the festive gathering comes just over two weeks before the long-awaited release of Harry’s book, Spare.
When announcing the news last month, publisher Penguin Random House said the book will detail with “raw unflinching honesty” his journey from “trauma to healing”, adding: “For Harry, this is his story at last”.
The book’s cover has drawn widespread attention. It shows the Duke of Sussex looking directly into the camera, along with the words “Prince Harry” and “Spare”. The title is a reference to the phrase “the heir and the spare”.
In a press release for Harry’s book, publisher Penguin Random House said: “Spare takes readers immediately back to one of the most searing images of the 20th century: two young boys, two princes, walking behind their mother’s coffin as the world watched in sorrow – and horror.
“As Diana, Princess of Wales, was laid to rest, billions wondered what the princes must be thinking and feeling – and how their lives would play out from that point on. For Harry, this is his story at last.
“With its raw, unflinching honesty, Spare is a landmark publication full of insight, revelation, self-examination, and hard-won wisdom about the eternal power of love over grief.”
When Harry announced details of the book in 2021, he said in a statement: “I’m writing this not as the prince I was born but as the man I have become.
“I’ve worn many hats over the years, both literally and figuratively, and my hope is that in telling my story – the highs and lows, the mistakes, the lessons learned – I can help show that no matter where we come from, we have more in common than we think.
“I’m deeply grateful for the opportunity to share what I’ve learned over the course of my life so far and excited for people to read a first-hand account of my life that’s accurate and wholly truthful.”