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
Contributing Royal Editor

Rachel Burchfield is a writer whose primary interests are fashion and beauty, society and culture, and, most especially, the British Royal Family. In addition to serving as the royal editor at Marie Claire, she has worked with publications like Vogue, Vanity Fair, ELLE, Harper’s Bazaar, and more. She cohosts Podcast Royal, a show that provides candid commentary on the biggest royal family headlines and offers segments on fashion, beauty, health and wellness, and lifestyle.