Prince Harry wanted to leave royalty for a long time says Seward
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Prince Harry, 37 and wife Meghan Markle, 40, have been based in the US since they quit the Firm last year but there is mounting speculation they could return to the UK to spend Christmas with the Queen. If they do decide to spend the holidays with the royals then they are unlikely to stay under the same roof as Prince William and Kate, Duchess of Cambridge.
Meghan and Harry have not been back to Britain as a family unit since 2019 and the Queen still hasn’t met their daughter Lilibet who was born in June.
The couple left royal duties behind in early 2020, and purchased a mansion in Montecito, California where they reside with two-year-old Archie, and four-month-old Lilibet.
Since then, the Duke of Sussex has only returned to the UK on two occasions, but never with the rest of the family in tow.
Harry has briefly returned to attend the funeral for his grandfather Prince Philip, who died in April aged 99, and also he unveiled a statue honouring his late mother Diana, Princess of Wales with brother Prince William in July.
They recently stepped out for their first public appearance together since the birth of Lilibet, and gave a speech at Global Citizen Live’s New York event about vaccine equity.
A UK return would provide the couple with their first opportunity to reunite with their extended family, following a series of shocking claims Meghan and Harry made about their time as royals during an interview with Oprah Winfrey.
Like many families across the globe, the royals are likely to gather for celebrations over the festive season, particularly in light of the restrictions imposed last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
It is likely that if the Sussexes do spend Christmas with the Royal Family, they will reside at Sandringham, the Queen’s Norfolk residence during their stay.
The Royal Family’s main Norfolk base has 30 rooms which are likely to be filled with senior members of the Firm and their families over the holidays.
Previously, the Sussexes resided at Frogmore Cottage in Windsor, which is now the home for Harry’s cousin Princess Eugenie, along with her husband Jack Brooksbank and their child August, born in February.
While Harry’s brother Prince William and his wife Kate, Duchess of Cambridge, both 39, and their three children are expected to join in the festive celebrations they will not be staying at Sandringham as they have their own home Anmer Hall just up the road.
The property was a gift to the couple from Her Majesty, following their 2011 marriage, and the residence underwent a £1.5m refurbishment before they moved in with their firstborn Prince George.
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Kate, William, George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis all stayed at the Georgian property during lockdowns imposed on the country during the pandemic, and royals fans were given a glimpse of the bolthole’s decor when the Cambridges conducted royal engagements there via video calls.
Originally constructed in 1802, the property reportedly boasts ten bedrooms, and both a swimming pool and private tennis court, with plenty of room to house their brood.
While the Cambridges have spent considerably less time at the Norfolk property while their eldest children attend school in southwest London, they typically return to the countryside for school holidays.
The Cambridges and Sussexes were pictured in 2018 attending Christmas Day church services in Sandringham, and the group reportedly showed a “united front” for the occasion, which marked their first public appearance since rumours of a rift between them were circulating at the time.
Members of the Royal Family were seen greeting well-wishers and accepting flowers outside the St. Mary Magdalene Church in Norfolk.
A 2021 Christmas family get together would mark the Queen’s first opportunity to meet Lilibet, whose moniker is a sweet nod to Her Majesty’s nickname.
Lilibet Diana, whose name also pays homage to Harry and William’s late mother too, is the 11th great-grandchild of the monarch who celebrates her platinum Jubilee next year.
Speculation has arisen that Harry and Meghan may be present for the celebrations as other non-working royals including Zara Tindall will be in attendance for the occasion marking the Queen’s seventh decade at the helm.
Year-long plans are in place to celebrate the Queen’s historic reign, and non-working royals may be utilised in engagements or be given extra responsibilities during the celebrations.
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