MEGHAN, Harry and baby Archie have confirmed that they will be with her mum this Christmas instead of joining the rest of the Royal family at the Queen's Sandringham Estate, and while they’re sure to start some new family traditions they’ll be missing out on some old ones too.
It is unclear whether the family will travel to LA to be with Doria, or whether she will join them at their Windsor Home of Frogmore Cottage.
The couple's plans were confirmed yesterday when a spokesperson released a statement on their behalf.
It read: "Having spent the last two Christmases at Sandringham, Their Royal Highnesses will spend the holidays this year, as a new family, with the Duchess' mother Doria Ragland."
However, in doing so the Sussexes will miss out on the royal family festivities at Sandringham in Norfolk – a celebration that is steeped in tradition.
From opening presents on Christmas Eve and a Boxing Day shoot – we reveal the customs that baby Archie, and his parents, will miss out on this year.
The Queen heads up to Sandringham Estate in Norfolk early on December 19 or 20 and the remainder of the family join her on Christmas Eve.
Merry museum visit
According to a royal insider one thing that the children who are staying at Sandringham always do at Christmas is make a visit to the museum which is in the old stable block close to the main house.
Speaking to Fabulous Digital they said: "The museum is closed to the public while the royal family is there, but it is opened especially for the children for a few hours on the morning of Christmas Eve.
"It’s full of fascinating things, like carriages and cars, such as ‘retired' Rolls Royces which have been used by the Queen and other royals.
"But the best exhibit for children is the old fire engine, with its bells and the golden helmets used by the firemen (who were always volunteers, made up of workers from the estate)."
But Archie will miss out on his first ever trip with his cousins this year.
Have Kate and William ever skipped Sandringham?
The statement said that the Sussexes' decision is in line "with precedent set previously by other members of the royal family and has the support of Her Majesty The Queen.
This is true of Prince William and Kate Middleton who spent Christmas with the Middleton family in 2016.
The couple stayed at Kate's £4.7 million family home of Bucklebury in Berkshire but have been regulars at Sandringham since.
Dad's footie match
For the past six years Princes William and Harry have indulged in a little friendly competition in a football match on December 24.
The brothers, who normally play opposite one another, invite some of the 200 members of staff from the Queen’s Norfolk estate to join them at nearby Castle Rising for the match.
According to a source, "William has shown his football loyalty to Aston Villa by wearing their socks, while Harry has worn a shirt given to him by the Arsenal team. "
Kate Middleton’s brother James has also previously joined
the 11-a-side game.
Royal family members normally turn out in support – and Archie
would have been likely to join Meghan on the side-lines had he been there.
However, with Harry preoccupied this Christmas the game could well be at risk of being cancelled.
Finishing the Christmas tree
Once everyone has arrived at Sandringham the children are invited to finish decorating the two trees that decorate the house. It is a tradition that Archie would have been encouraged to partake in as his cousins Charlotte, George and Louis have in previous years.
While her other residences at Windsor Castle and Buckingham Palace are decked with huge 20ft Christmas trees and twinkling lights, the decorations at her Sandringham home are said to be much more understated.
One of the more unusual festive traditions that the royal
family has is to open their Christmas presents on Christmas Eve.
This means that there would be no waiting around for baby
Archie as everyone at Sandringham follows the German tradition.
Presents are placed ready for family members on trestle
tables at the lavish abode.
The family are well-known for their gag gifts, with the Queen's nephew Viscount Linley previously describing the session as "a total uproar".
Previous years have seen Princess Anne giving her brother Charles a leather toilet seat, Kate buying Harry a grow-your-own girlfriend kit and the Queen receiving a shower cap with "Ain't Life a B***h!" written on it from her grandson Harry in 2013.
Former chef to the Queen, Darren McGrady adds: “The Royals are of German descent so they weave in German traditions to their celebrations.
“After afternoon tea, they open gifts on Christmas Eve, as is the German tradition.”
Lavish gifts are frowned upon as Diana found at at her first Christmas Diana didn’t know, and bought expensive cashmere jumpers and mohair scarves for everyone.
But as the Sussexes embrace an American Christmas they are
likely to keep any present opening for the big day.
The family church service
Christmas morning sees Prince Philip lead the 330-yard walk
to the nearby St Mary Magdalene church – but the Queen is driven – where locals
assemble to catch a glimpse of the royals.
But any hoping to spot baby Archie are sure to be
disappointed as he will be elsewhere where it is unclear whether a church
service is a part of Meghan’s family Christmas.
The first service, at 9am, is a private one for the family –
so the Queen can take communion.
They then return home for a change of clothes before the
public service at St Mary Magdalene Church at 11am.
Church-going locals have to pass strict security checks in
the Autumn to attend the service, while Royal tots normally don't join until
The French feast
Following the trip to church, the family will reconvene for
lunch together but in a break from tradition the Queen's menus are always in
The royals will dine on a salad with shrimp or lobster, two
enormous 25lb roast turkeys, pigs in blankets, Brussels sprouts cooked with
chestnuts and root vegetables.
They will polish off dinner with a Christmas pudding topped with brandy butter.
As in many households around the UK, the menu for Christmas day doesn’t change and is the same year after year.
However, in a more unusual twist the Queen insists "the grown-ups in one room and the children in another".
Late journalist Kenneth Rose claimed: "Towards the end of lunch, the doors are flung open and in rushes the horde."
Another tradition that is upheld by the Queen is that of the
senior chef enjoying a toast with the family after serving dinner.
Darren said: “That's the only time the chef goes into the
dining room and has a glass of whisky with the Royal Family.
"It's one of the chef's favourite traditions."
The royals pull bespoke Christmas crackers made by Dorset based company Celebration Crackers – and everyone dons a hat apart from Her Majesty.
Royal weigh in
Royal expert and editor of Majesty magazine Ingrid Seward claims that each member of the Royal Family is weighed before and after tucking into their turkey dinner on Christmas Day.
Ingrid told Grazia that The Queen asks each of her guests to "weigh themselves" using a pair of antique scales when they first arrive at the Sandringham estate in Norfolk for the Christmas period.
But this is all to make sure guests are having a great time – and they're weighed to make sure they're being "well fed".
The tradition dates back to King Edward VII's reign in the early 1900s – and applies to all members of the royal clan.
Thousands of families up and down the nation will tune in to
watch the Queen’s speech at 3pm on Christmas Day.
And the royal family is no exception with the royals
settling down together to catch the five minute message after lunch.
But if the Sussexes do choose to have Christmas in the US
they may struggle to see Archie’s great-grandmother’s speech.
While various networks do air the speech, California is
eight hours behind meaning that the family would have to tune in at 7am to
Following the speech, the family will often join the Queen in her saloon where there will be plenty of jigsaws and board games laid out for the family to enjoy.
Party games such as charades are also popular as are cards – but occasionally the family will choose to go for a walk instead to walk off their lunch.
Following this they have time to relax before meeting
together later on for afternoon tea and Christmas fruitcake.
Room for more?
If you’re staying at Sandringham you better make sure you’re
not too full as an evening buffet is laid on for the royals.
The lavish spread has 16-20 different items spread out for
them to choose from and chefs on hand to carve the meat.
The royals will normally stay up quite late on Christmas Day
as there is an unwritten rule that no one will go to bed before the Queen – so
Harry and Meghan may be looking forward to an early night.
Each year the royals gather for the annual Boxing Day shoot,
with the family enjoying hearty breakfast before heading out on the hunt.
According to the Daily Mail: “A buffet is laid out of
kedgeree, bacon and eggs, cereals and toast to set them up for the day.
"It's cold trudging across the muddy fields so you need
plenty of sustenance."
In her younger days, the Queen would even follow the
shooting party, picking up pheasants and partridges that had been shot.
While rumours that Meghan had “banned” Harry from joining
the shoot were quashed last year after he took part, it is likely to be a tradition
she is happy to buck.
The Duchess is said to be against blood sports having been vocal about animal right in the past.
In other royal news, we revealed the Queen is a big fan of Kate Middleton's 'unflappable' attitude.
We also revealed the Queen wanted the royal children to be ‘seated in a different room’ for Christmas lunch, claims royal biographer.
In other royal news, we told you how Kate Middleton has always wanted her children to ‘live in the real world’, reveals royal expert.
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