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King Charles' thoughts on not spending 'hectic' Christmas with grandchildren Prince Archie and Princess Lilibet

His Majesty hasn't spent a Christmas with Prince Harry and Meghan Markle since 2018

King Charles and Meghan Markle's children
Sharnaz Shahid
Deputy Online Editor
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King Charles is gearing up to spend his second Christmas as monarch at Sandringham next week, and while he'll be joined by his eldest son Prince William and his family, it seems his second son Prince Harry will not be there to join in the festivities. 

The Duke of Sussex and his wife Meghan Markle are expected to celebrate the special day with their two children, Prince Archie, four, and Princess Lilibet, two, at their home in California. They will most likely be joined by Meghan's mother Doria Ragland

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle with Prince Archie and Princess Lilibet© Netflix
Prince Harry and Meghan expected to spend the festive period with their children Archie and Lilibet in the States

During a chat with HELLO!, Ingrid Seward, royal author and editor-in-chief of Majesty Magazine, confessed that the King may be "relieved" not to spend Christmas with Prince Harry and his family as the day tends to be pretty "hectic" and he won't be able to give his full attention to them.

"I think he's been so busy [this year], exhausted actually that when you're busy and exhausted he's probably a bit relieved," she shared. "There's going to be no family aggravation to cope with. You know what it's like at Christmas when you have a sort of 'prickly relation,' you walk on eggshells. At least, he's spared the potential of an unpleasant atmosphere."

Reflecting on what Christmas used to be like when King Charles was separated from Princess Diana, the royal author explained: "I remember in the very old days when Diana used to go for Christmas after she was separated from Prince Charles, the staff told me that the atmosphere was dreadful and the minute Diana left everything lifted.

"If he wanted to see his grandchildren, probably Christmas isn't the best time. There's too much going on and he won't be able to concentrate on them. It would be far better when he sees them in a quiet moment some other time during the year. They will want to come and see him because they've got to keep a relationship going."

ritain's King Charles III (R) flanked by Britain's Camilla, Queen Consort (L) waves to members of the public as he arrives for the Royal Family's traditional Christmas Day service at St Mary Magdalene Church in Sandringham, Norfolk© DANIEL LEAL
King Charles and Queen Camilla will have an action-packed Christmas day

Asked whether King Charles will have time to put his feet up during the festive period, Ingrid claimed that His Majesty will probably only have one day off. "The only day he doesn't look at the red box is Christmas Day and Easter Sunday, I think," she mused. "He'll have Christmas Day off from doing the governmental boxes and the telephone – just one day. I think when you're on a sort of treadmill of work, it's probably easier just to keep going."

It's been five years since Prince Harry and Meghan have spent Christmas with the royal family. They spent the first two Christmases as a couple with the late Queen at Sandringham – once before their wedding in 2017, and the year after when Meghan was pregnant with son Archie. 

In 2019, the couple surprised royal watchers when they confirmed they would not be spending Christmas at Sandringham that year. At the time, it was reported that the couple were looking forward to extended family time and would spend the festive period with the Duchess' mother Doria. 

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle with Prince William and Kate Middleton© Getty
King Charles last spent Christmas with Prince Harry and Meghan in 2018

This decision was said to be in line with the precedent set previously by other members of the royal family, and had the support of the late Queen. Previously, Harry had always spent Christmas with the royal family at Sandringham, with the exception of 2012 when he was in Afghanistan.

Prince William and Kate famously used to alternate between Sandringham and the Middletons' family home in Bucklebury. They spent Prince George's first Christmas in 2014 with the royals, while in 2016 the family were spotted attending a Christmas Day church service at St Mark's Church in Berkshire, along with the Princess' family. 

Despite living a continent away, King Charles is keen to maintain an equally close relationship with Prince Harry and Meghan's children. 

WATCH: Meghan Markle cheers as she pulls son Archie on a sleigh

While Archie spent the first few months of his life in the UK before moving to California with his parents, the King only met Lili for the first time in the summer of 2022, when the family flew over to take part in the late Queen's Platinum Jubilee celebrations.

An insider told HELLO! Charles and Camilla were "thrilled" to meet her. "The Prince, of course, hasn't seen his grandson Archie for a bit of time and so it was very, very, very special to have some time with him. He hadn't met Lili, his granddaughter and so to meet her was very emotional; a very, very wonderful thing." 

Meghan Markle holding daughter Lilibet during her first birthday party© Twitter/Misan Harriman
Princess Lilibet during her first birthday party in Windsor

Meanwhile, in May this year, the King raised a glass to toast Archie's fourth birthday at Buckingham Palace. The birthday celebration coincided with Charles' coronation on 6 May. The sweet gesture is thought to have been made at a private lunch after Charles and Camilla were crowned King and Queen at Westminster Abbey, according to the Mail. 

The historic event marked the first time Harry was reunited with his family since the release of his explosive Netflix docuseries last December and tell-all memoir, Spare, published in January. 

Elsewhere, in November, the King received a meaningful present from his grandchildren, Prince Archie and Princess Lilibet. The Telegraph reported that he had received a recorded video of the two royal grandchildren singing Happy Birthday to him. 

Prince Harry Meghan Markle Princess Lilibet blowing cake© Netflix
Prince Harry and Meghan have been living in the States since 2020

The touching gift wasn't the only special gesture he received from the Sussex family as his son, Prince Harry, reportedly phoned his father to wish him a happy birthday. The publication also claimed that King Charles spoke on the phone with Meghan Markle.

Ingrid Seward, author of The Queen & Di: The Untold Story, My Husband and I: The Inside Story of the Royal Marriage and William & Harry: A Portrait of Two Princes, will be releasing her latest royal book, My Mother and I, in February 2024.

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