We Already Knew Prince Harry and Meghan Markle Were Skipping the Royal Family Christmas—But Now, Reportedly, We Know Why

Can’t blame them, honestly.

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry
(Image credit: Getty)

Marie Claire reported nearly a month ago that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle wouldn’t be making the trip to the U.K. to celebrate Christmas with the royal family at Sandringham—the first since the death of Her late Majesty this past September 8. But now, thanks to the reported release date of their Netflix docuseries, the Sussexes skipping Christmas makes even more sense: the series drops December 8, and likely won’t provide much fodder for collegial familial relations for the holiday, which is just a little over two weeks later.

Harry and Meghan have been invited to Christmas, reports The Mirror, “but it seems they will not be present as relations continue to sour.”

The Queen’s death means that there won’t be as much pressure to have all of the family together, which is good, because it seems Harry and Meghan won’t be present,” royal expert Angela Levin tells The Sun. “The family will want to make it a very positive day after the Queen’s death, and I think the Sussexes’ presence would most certainly dampen that.”

Harry and Meghan reportedly asked to delay the docuseries’ release until after Christmas, which Levin says is “very interesting.”

“It makes me feel that they could very well attack the monarchy again and be very nasty about the King despite the fact that he lost his mother,” she says.

Right behind the docuseries’ release is the release of Harry’s memoir, Spare, which will kick off 2023 with its January 10 drop—and it is yet to be seen whether that will help or hurt relations.

For his part, King Charles is shaking up some traditions at the royal family Sandringham Christmas: it will be less formal than in years past, The Daily Mail reports, and the family will not gather to watch the King’s Christmas broadcast together at 3 o’clock in the afternoon. Some aspects will remain the same, though—we can reportedly expect our traditional Christmas walk from the family to St. Mary Magdalene Church on the Sandringham estate, which, COVID-19 notwithstanding, they undertake annually before returning home to Sandringham for their Christmas meal. 

Rachel Burchfield
Senior Celebrity and Royals Editor

Rachel Burchfield is a writer, editor, and podcaster whose primary interests are fashion and beauty, society and culture, and, most especially, the British Royal Family and other royal families around the world. She serves as Marie Claire’s Senior Celebrity and Royals Editor and has also contributed to publications like Allure, Cosmopolitan, Elle, Glamour, Harper’s Bazaar, InStyle, People, Vanity Fair, Vogue, and W, among others. Before taking on her current role with Marie Claire, Rachel served as its Weekend Editor and later Royals Editor. She is the cohost of Podcast Royal, a show that was named a top five royal podcast by The New York Times. A voracious reader and lover of books, Rachel also hosts I’d Rather Be Reading, which spotlights the best current nonfiction books hitting the market and interviews the authors of them. Rachel frequently appears as a media commentator, and she or her work has appeared on outlets like NBC’s Today Show, ABC’s Good Morning America, CNN, and more.