The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have shared their Christmas card photo for 2021 and it's very special
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have released their family Christmas card featuring the first photo of their baby daughter Lilibet Diana Mountbatten-Windsor.
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The message on the card reads: "Happy Holidays. This year, 2021, we welcomed our daughter, Lilibet, to the world. Archie made us a 'Mama' and a 'Papa', and Lili made us a family. "
WATCH: Meghan Markle reveals Archie and Lilibet's sweet sibling bond
The card also highlighted the charities close to the Sussexes' heart. The message continued: "As we look forward to 2022, we have made donations on your behalf to several organizations that honor and protect families - from those being relocated from Afghanistan, to American families in need of paid parental leave: Team Rubicon, Welcome.US, Human First Coalition, Humanity Crew & Paid Leave For All, PL+US, Marshall Plan for Moms."
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The couple concluded their note with: "Wishing you a happy holiday season and a prosperous New Year, from our family to yours! As ever, Harry, Meghan, Archie & Lili."
The adorable family photo was taken by their wedding photographer Alexi Lubomirski this summer at the couple's home in Santa Barbara, California. The precious portrait sees the family posing on some steps with little Archie sitting on Harry's lap and Meghan lifting Lilibet in the air.
This is the first image Prince Harry and Meghan have released of their daughter Lilibet
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex had the opportunity to connect with Team Rubicon earlier this year during their visit to Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst. They were moved by Task Force Liberty, home to 10,000 Afghan refugees, and their donation will support resettlement sites like TF Liberty across the country, particularly as they find permanent homes for Afghan refugees in 2022.
MORE: 14 adorable photos of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's son Archie
"Welcome.US is mobilizing an all-country response to support our new Afghan neighbors, and we are honored to receive support from Archewell Foundation and Prince Harry and Meghan, The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, in this effort," said Welcome.US CEO Nazanin Ash.
"With this generous gift, The Duke and Duchess of Sussex will not only help thousands of Afghan families as they rebuild their lives but will also create opportunities for all of us to unite through compassionate service and common purpose."
In addition to focusing on Afghan resettlement, Prince Harry and Meghan are also making contributions to organizations supporting families through paid leave, something the Duchess of Sussex has previously noted is a humanitarian issue that she believes must be urgently addressed in the United States.
The adorable family photo was taken by the couple's wedding photographer Alexi Lubomirski
Shortly after the image was released, photographer Alexi detailed his experience taking the picture with the family. "The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Archie and Lilibet," he wrote on Instagram. "This is one of those rare and special projects, that one is fortunate enough to be a part of.
"To be able to continue the story of this family whom I first photographed as an engaged couple, then on the day of their wedding, as a married couple and now seeing their love manifest into two beautiful children, has been a delightful honour.
"Anyone who has seen my #AllLoveSeries, will know that one of the greatest joys I receive from photography, is when I am able to photograph "love" in some form or another. To be trusted by your subjects enough, to open themselves up and have their connection documented and translated into an image, is one of the greatest gifts a photographer can have."
He added: "This day with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex was one such joyous experience, and one that I feel extremely privileged to have been invited to capture. X"
Harry and Meghan will celebrate Lilibet's first Christmas
Harry and Meghan will celebrate their first Christmas as a family-of-four with two-year-old Archie and six-month-old Lilibet at their Montecito home this year.
Lilibet was born on 4 June 2021 at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital, with the proud parents announcing her birth to the world two days later. She is named after her great-grandmother, the Queen, whose family nickname is Lilibet. She is currently eighth in the line of succession.
It's clear that the Duke and Duchess are keen to let their children grow up as private citizens, particularly as they will not carry out a public role in the future.
Archie has only been seen publicly a handful of times since his birth in May 2019, with Meghan sharing a recent picture of her son during an appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show.
Several family photos could be seen on Meghan's desk in a special video to mark her 40th birthday in August, with many royal fans guessing that one of them could be Harry holding Lilibet.
Last year, the Sussexes released a beautiful drawing based on a family photo taken by Meghan's mum, Doria Ragland. It showed the family-of-three playing in their garden with their dogs, Guy and Pula, as they celebrated their first Christmas in the US. The adorable Christmas card was shared by one of the Duchess' patronages, animal welfare charity, Mayhew.
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