For children, there is probably no day, except maybe a birthday, that is more exciting than Christmas – and the royal children are no different. Though, not all of them are likely to be welcomed with open arms at Sandringham.
Archie and Lilibet, Harry and Meghan’s children, are set to celebrate Christmas back home in the US. This year, however, the young kids might be getting used to new traditions.
According to a new report, Harry is very much homesick and really wants to celebrate Christmas like he used to, back in the UK. So, the Duke has decided to do something special for Archie and Lilibet this year.
Archie and Lilibet live their best lives in sunny California. Their parents, Harry and Meghan, bought a multimillion-dollar mansion in Montecito, California, several years ago, and one can only imagine how great that is for a child to grow up in.
But while Archie and Lilibet might be able to receive everything that money can buy, spending time with other family members, such as grandparents, is important. Sure, Meghan’s mother, Doris, is usually at their house, but unfortunately the relationship with their grandfather, King Charles, is practically nonexistent.
Archie & Lilibet – relationship with grandpa King Charles
Regardless of what’s happened between Charles and Harry – as their relationship is getting worse by the day – the king dearly misses his grandchildren and obviously wants to see them.
Any parent or grandparent knows how tough it is to be away from your children or grandchildren, even if it’s just for one day. In King Charles’s case, he hasn’t seen Archie or Lilibet in a long time, and it seems it’s taking a toll on him.
In his book OUR KING: Charles III: The Man and the Monarch, royal author Robert Jobson describes King Charles’s anguish over Archie and Lilibet, who are sixth and seventh in the line of succession.
Jobson writes that Archie and Lilbet are “always in Charles’s heart,” though the rift between Harry, Meghan and the royals has made things challenging.
“Unfortunately, due to the poor relationship with his second son, Prince Harry, and his wife, Meghan, Charles has spent hardly any quality time with his other grandchildren, Archie, and his sister, Lilibet Diana Mountbatten-Windsor,” Jobson wrote in his book.
“But those close to him say they are always in his heart. It is one of the reasons he finds the estrangement from his second son so difficult to cope with.”
Charles has not visited Archie and Lilibet in the US, and so it’s been quite a while since he had a chance to meet them. But reports suggested there might have been an opportunity coming up in just a month: Christmas.
Royal Christmas traditions
This year, Charles will celebrate Christmas as king for the second year. Elizabeth used to hand out presents to her household at Buckingham Palace and Windsor and give her staff Christmas pudding. What Charles does for his staff has not been revealed.
The Royal Family has a formal dinner on Christmas Eve, often including Norfolk shrimp and lamb. At 10 p.m., the Queen always signaled that it was time for the women to go to bed, as the men traditionally enjoyed a brandy. At least that was custom until 2021 when Prince Philip passed away.
Upon waking up, the family enjoys a classic English breakfast of eggs, sausages, bacon, and beans. Then, after the traditional visit to St Mary Magdalene Church, they eat a Christmas lunch, the main course of which is a roast turkey.
US Weekly has previously reported that the family members have also upheld Henry VII’s tradition of “weighing in before and after Christmas lunch.”
At 3 p.m., the Royal Family sits down to watch the annual Christmas speech on television – Queen Elizabeth’s annual speech was a highlight for many. This year will mark King Charles’s second time doing the speech.
Christmas at Sandringham is a private event to which only the closest family are invited. However, every year, the Queen used to have a big Christmas party at Buckingham Palace, which many extended royals had the opportunity to attend.
Special Christmas presents
Like many other families worldwide, the Royal Family exchange presents on Christmas Eve (a German tradition introduced by Queen Victoria’s husband, Prince Albert), which they lay out on a table and open on Christmas Day after enjoying afternoon tea.
But besides “normal” gifts, the Royal Family likes to loosen up and give each other lighter gifts.
Though Kate, William, Charles, Camilla, and other royals might seem strict in public, things are different when they spend time together in private. As for Christmas, the royals are reported to have one fun tradition. Besides handing each other “ordinary” gifts, they also exchange gifts that intend to bring forward laughter.
For example, one year, Meghan Markle gave her then-new brother-in-law, William, a rather special present.
Over the years, several “gag presents” have been handed to the family members. In 2016, Kate reportedly gave Harry a “Grow Your Own Girfriend” kit before he met Meghan – and William once gave the Queen a pair of personalized slippers with her face.
Meghan, though, opted for a relatively bolder choice. During her first Christmas with the royals, she reportedly handed Queen Elizabeth a singing hamster on a string, which both the monarch – and her corgis – loved.
According to authors Carolyn Durand and Omid Scobiee, her “biggest challenge was finding the perfect novelty gifts to amuse her new extended family.”
Eventually, she settled on a brilliant present for William.
“At least one of her gifts was a huge hit—a spoon for William that had ‘cereal killer’ embossed on the shallow bowl end of the utensil,” they wrote in Finding Freedom.
King Charles wants to fix relationship with Archie and Lilibet
This year marks the fourth in a row that Harry and Meghan won’t be spending Christmas at Sandringham. Last year, the couple had just released their Netflix documentary series. And just weeks later, Harry’s upcoming tell-all book dropped. At the time, not spending Christmas with the royals might have been for the best.
Royal expert Angela Levin even went so far as to argue that Harry and Meghan were afraid of the Royal Family’s reaction, so they chose not to travel back to the UK for Christmas.
“It’s been said that they’re not coming but it [is] also I think on what the documentary is like whether or not they would be invited at all,” Levein told The Sun at the time
“It’s up [to] the Sussexes on whether they want their children to know what their father’s family is like – but also it could be a case where the royals don’t want them there after the documentary,” she added.
Archie and Lilibet have never spent much time with their British family. While William and Kate’s relationship with Harry and Meghan is pretty much nonexistent, King Charles at least wants to try and mend it, especially for his grandchildren’s sake.
This year, as previously, Harry and Meghan won’t be at Sandringham. According to The Times, an insider said that even though the Sussexes would accept an invitation to spend Christmas with the royals, it would require “heightened protection” to make it a reality.
“It’s so bizarre…”
However, the fact that Harry, Meghan, Archie, and Lilibet spoke to King Charles for his 75th birthday might be a “turning point.”
Meanwhile, another source told the Daily Mail that Harry and Meghan would accept an invitation to double down on their “reconciliation strategy.”
“It’s so bizarre to have behaved so badly, demanded an apology and an admission of ‘guilt’ — to no avail, I might add — from the family and now suggest they’ll just waltz back in and allow bygones to be bygones if only someone would be good enough invite them,” an insider told the Daily Mail.
Moreover, the insider added that Harry and Meghan had invitations from both Queen Elizabeth and King Charles to join the family at Balmoral in the summer but decided not to accept. They haven’t been there since 2018.
“Which begs the question, why now? Is it something to do with the fact that some of their commercial deals, such as Spotify, have fallen around their ears and they have been subject to ridicule in the US in shows such as South Park and Family Guy?” the source said.
“Could it be that they have realised moaning about how awful being a member of the Royal Family is, isn’t such a great strategy after all?”
Another insider said, “Christmas plans are normally nailed down by now as Sandringham isn’t a particularly big place, and there’s not a lot of room for the entire extended family, It would be surprising for the Sussexes not to have received an invitation by now if there was going to be one. New Year in Scotland would be more likely.”
Harry’s new Christmas plan for Archie & Lilibet – British tradtions
“But as with anything to do with Harry and Meghan, let’s face it, anything can happen,” the source concluded.
As mentioned, the royal Christmas celebration has its traditions, which have been ongoing for many years. One can imagine that Harry and Meghan decided to celebrate Christmas a little differently as they left for America. But still, some things won’t change.
As Arhcie and Lilibt’s childhood has been spent in the US, there aren’t many British things they do. Not last the accent, as it was revealed last year that Archie spoke in an American accent, just like his mother, and not Harry’s British.
But even though they live in the US, Harry appears keen on giving his children a taste of British Christmas.
According to royal expert Katie Nicholl, Harry will do his best to give his children as close to a British Christmas as possible. However, replicating the traditional royal Christmas will be hard.
“I am sure there are moments when Harry must feel homesick,” Nicholl told GB News. California is a world away from Britain and a world away from a British Christmas. I suspect they will have many of the British traditions that Harry is used to; we have seen him dressing the tree with Archie.”
She continued, “They will have as close to a British Christmas in California as they can. Of course, what they won’t have is the traditional royal Christmas experience at Sandringham.”
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