There will be lights, carols and gifts under a tree at Archie’s first Christmas, but no visit with great-grandmother Queen Elizabeth II. Duchess Meghan and Prince Harry are breaking with tradition to spend the yuletide with Meghan’s mother, Doria Ragland, and their infant son, 6 months. “This Christmas will be low-key and informal,” says a friend.

For the past two years, the young couple have joined the festivities at the queen’s Sandringham Estate, where the annual celebration includes elaborate meals, gag gifts and photographers outside church on Christmas morning. Though Meghan’s mother has been included in the past, the duchess found herself yearning for a quieter Christmas this year. “Sandringham is always fun, but it can also be quite stressful and very formal,” a friend explains to Closer Weekly in the magazine’s latest issue, on newsstands now.

Prince Harry and Meghan Duchess of Sussex visit to Africa - 25 Sep 2019

Harry, 35, and Meghan, 38, will likely split the next six weeks between England and L.A., where Doria resides. “Meghan misses her mom like crazy,” says the friend, “and can’t wait to spend quality time with her.”


It’s hard to blame Meghan and Harry for wanting a private holiday. Despite their happiness over Archie’s birth in May, the duchess has felt stressed by the British press. Meanwhile, relations between Harry and his brother, Prince William, have been strained. “William and [Duchess] Kate are somewhat relieved that they won’t be at Sandringham,” the friend continues. “William does however feel that it’ll be strange not having his brother around.”

Harry will feel a pang, too — he has only missed one other Christmas in 2012 when he was stationed in Afghanistan. But right now, the prince feels that sharing Christmas with his beloved Meghan and their baby holds the true holiday magic.

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