Prince Harry and Meghan Markle could make surprise return to Britain before New Year

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Royal insiders say staff have been put on standby to prepare Frogmore Cottage for a possible visit around the festive season. A trial date for Meghan’s High Court case against Associated Newspapers has been provisionally set for January 11.

Staff at Windsor have been told to prepare for the possibility Harry could come back

Royal insider

If she plans to attend in person she will have to be back in the UK before the New Year to comply with COVID-19 rules forcing travellers flying in from the US to self-isolate for 14 days.

The court date raises the possibility of Meghan, Harry and their son Archie spending Christmas in the UK although their plans have yet to be announced.

The pair made their last public appearance in the UK at the Commonwealth Day service at Westminster Abbey in March.

When they first announced plans to step back from royal duties, Prince Harry and Meghan said they intended to divide their time between Britain and their new home in North America.

But travel restrictions imposed to tackle the coronavirus pandemic mean they have been unable to travel to and from the UK as previously planned.

Frogmore Cottage – in grounds of Windsor Castle – is still the UK residence of the pair and it was confirmed last month that Prince Harry had repaid the £2.4million of taxpayers’ money spent on renovating the Grade-II listed property.

A spokesman at the time said: “A contribution has been made to the Sovereign Grant by The Duke of Sussex.

“This contribution, as originally offered by Prince Harry, has fully covered the necessary renovation costs of Frogmore Cottage, a property of Her Majesty The Queen, and will remain the UK residence of The Duke and his family.”

Meghan is suing Associated Newspapers, the publisher of the Mail on Sunday and MailOnline, over an article detailing parts of a handwritten letter written to her father Thomas Markle in August 2018.

Harry might fly back ahead of his wife over the coming weeks to give him the opportunity to tie up some loose ends with the Queen.

A royal source told The Sun: “Staff at Windsor have been told to prepare for the possibility Harry could come back.

“They are told that it could be within weeks but Meghan’s name was not mentioned.

“There are all sorts of issues to speak about — not only his political statements but also his visa situation in the US.

“Even though he would have to isolate for two weeks, the estate is large enough for talks in a socially distanced way.”

Meghan and Harry might not be able to spend too much time in the UK next year as their £112 million deal with Netflix will begin, meaning they will be busy working on new projects.

The couple’s last appearance came at the weekend when they took part in a video chat with girls’ education with activist Malala Yousafzai to mark the International Day Of The Girl.

They spoke about how the COVID-19 outbreak has impacted young women’s access to education and the importance of learning.

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Harry said: “We do take it for granted and it is a privilege but every single person, every single child, every single young person needs an education.

“To know there’s over 130 million girls out of education right now, before the pandemic, and the numbers are only going to go up, it worries me and it probably worries all of us, the effect that is going to have not just on the individual, but on the family, and community, for the country and the world at large.”

Meghan stressed the problems with girls having unequal access to education did not start with the pandemic, but said the public health crisis has merely added to it.

She said: “So much is at stake if we don’t give a young woman an opportunity to learn and to get an education.

“I think there’s no greater time for all of us to acknowledge that with everything else happening with COVID, on International Day of the Girl, for each of us to make a commitment that yes, the layers upon layers that are happening in this context of COVID-19 are immense but all it has done is add on top of the problems that already existed.”

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