A happy family? Harry and Meghan share unseen photo from Archie’s Christening as they send birthday greetings to Charles – amid fears their decision to shun Sandringham at Christmas could divide the royals

  • Harry and Meghan and William and Kate share pictures of Charles with his grandchildren to mark his birthday
  • The Duke and Duchess of Sussex will not travel to Sandringham with other royals for Christmas in Norfolk
  • The couple and their son will spend festive break with Meghan's mother Doria, 63, at a secret location
  • Ms Ragland will fly to London for Thanksgiving - mother and daughter expected to serve at homeless shelter
  • Harry and Meghan most likely to stay at newly-refurbished Frogmore Cottage home with Archie and Doria
  • Spokesman says couple 'have the support of the Queen' who was called personally by Harry yesterday
  • Her Majesty 'often' pops down to their home from Windsor Castle to see her grandson and his family

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Meghan and Harry today shared an unseen photo of Prince Charles at Archie's baptism to mark the heir to the throne's 71st birthday amid claims of a 'rift' over their decision to dodge Christmas with the Queen and the royal family.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex used their Instagram account to post the black and white image showing the Duke of Sussex proudly holding his first-born alongside the Prince of Wales with both gazing proudly at the little boy in his Christening robes in July.

The caption reads: 'Happy birthday to His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales - Sir, Pa, Grandpa!' followed by a birthday cake emoji.

Around 30 minutes earlier Prince William and his wife Kate shared another baby-focussed photograph of Prince Charles playfully holding the hand of Prince Louis at Clarence House on his 70th birthday last year. The Queen's Instagram account shared an image from the summer of 1949 showing Her Majesty watching a grinning Prince Philip raising baby Charles in the air.

The birthday tributes came as the Sussexes confirmed Archie's first Christmas will be with his American grandmother Doria Ragland rather than at Sandringham with Harry's elderly grandparents and senior royals.

On Monday the couple will start a six-week break from royal duties with a intimate Christmas together at their Windsor home, Frogmore Cottage, most likely. 

Her Majesty has given her grandson her full support but intriguingly royals sources said the monarch was in the dark about his festive plans until he called her at Buckingham Palace yesterday to decline her open invite. 

William and Kate have missed Christmas at Sandringham twice since 2012, but Phil Dampier, author of Royally Suited: Harry and Meghan, told MailOnline today: 'It's very hard to see this as anything other than a snub to the Queen and the rest of the royal family. It shows there is a deep rift.

'If Harry and Meghan wanted to heal the divisions they should have turned up at Sandringham. It's a great shame but there seems to be a problem which is getting worse, not better'.

He added: 'I don't buy it's the turn of Meghan to spend Christmas with her family. She's only close to her mother and they will see plenty of her during their six-week break. I'm sure that the Queen would be happy to invite Doria to Sandringham to join them'. 

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have shared an unseen photo from Archie's Christening to celebrate Prince Charles 's 71st birthday today amid continuing rumours of a family rift over their Christmas plans

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have shared an unseen photo from Archie's Christening to celebrate Prince Charles 's 71st birthday today amid continuing rumours of a family rift over their Christmas plans

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge also wished Charles a happy birthday, alongside a selection of their favourite family photos, including the one above. The photo of Charles, Kate and Prince Louis was taken at Clarence House for Charles' 70th birthday last year

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge also wished Charles a happy birthday, alongside a selection of their favourite family photos, including the one above. The photo of Charles, Kate and Prince Louis was taken at Clarence House for Charles' 70th birthday last year

The Royal Family Instagram account posted two photos of Charles for the occasion, including a touching throwback snap of the prince with his parents (seen above). The black and white photo shows the Prince being held up by the Duke of Edinburgh as the Queen looks on in 1949

The Royal Family Instagram account posted two photos of Charles for the occasion, including a touching throwback snap of the prince with his parents (seen above). The black and white photo shows the Prince being held up by the Duke of Edinburgh as the Queen looks on in 1949

Harry, Meghan and Archie, pictured in South Africa in September, will spend Christmas with her mother Doria rather than the Queen and Prince this year
Harry, Meghan and Doria supported the victims of Grenfell in 2018 and are expected to support the homeless in London over Thanksgiving, DailyMail.com has learned

Harry, Meghan and Archie, pictured in South Africa in September, will spend Christmas with her mother Doria (together right at a Grenfell Tower event in 2019) rather than the Queen and Prince this year. Mother and daughter are expected to support the homeless in London over Thanksgiving, DailyMail.com has learned

Layer up like Meghan in a blue coat by Smythe

The Duchess of Sussex launched a charity cookbook back in September last year, marking her first solo project as a fully-fledged member of the Royal Family.

She looked as elegant as ever for the occasion, combining some of her favourite labels. The pleated skirt is by her friend Misha Nonoo, her high neck bodysuit is Tuxe, whose basics she has worn before and those Sarah Flint shoes are a repeat too. But of course it was the coat that caught our attention!

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This candid shot of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle was taken by a member of the pubic at Sandringham at Christmas 2017 - but the royal couples will be apart this year amid rumours of tensions between the brothers and their wives

This candid shot of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle was taken by a member of the pubic at Sandringham at Christmas 2017 - but the royal couples will be apart this year amid rumours of tensions between the brothers and their wives

The Queen, pictured in Aylesford earlier this month, has given Harry her blessing  after her grandson called her yesterday at Buckingham Palace to let her know

The Queen, pictured in Aylesford earlier this month, has given Harry her blessing  after her grandson called her yesterday at Buckingham Palace to let her know

DailyMail.com revealed last night that Doria will fly to Britain from Los Angeles before Thanksgiving to celebrate the holiday with her daughter, grandson and son-in-law.

Sources close to the Duchess of Sussex say the 38-year-old royal and her mother are considering spending the day helping out at a homeless shelter in London, not far from her home in Windsor, helping cook and serve the traditional roast turkey and pumpkin pie to those in need.  

The location of the Sussexes' Christmas is a closely guarded secret but their new home Frogmore Cottage, nestled away from prying eyes in the grounds of Windsor Castle, is a possible destination.

Harry and Meghan have spent more than £2.4million of public money knocking five smaller properties into one, adding new bathrooms and a kitchen as well a nursery for baby Archie and a spare room for Meghan's mother when she needs it.

The couple could also go abroad, either to the US and Canada where Meghan filmed Suits as they fell in love, or even Africa, which Harry views as his 'second home'. But with their well-known concerns about privacy they may prefer a UK Christmas.

As Harry and Meghan confirmed Christmas away from the Queen, it emerged:

  • Doria Ragland will jet to Britain imminently in time for Thanksgiving at the end of the month and will probably serve a traditional American meal to the homeless with her daughter; 
  • The Duke and Duchess of Sussex will start their six-break from royal duties after Sunday to spend time as a family - but Meghan's mother may also be there with them for most of it;
  • Prince Harry telephoned the Queen yesterday to tell her that they would not come to Sandringham for Christmas - she gave her blessing. But royal sources claim Her Majesty had no clue it was coming;
  • Frogmore Cottage - their newly renovated Windsor home - is the most likely Christmas Day venue but royal sources have suggested a US, Canadian or Africa trip could be on the table; 

Harry and Meghan's Christmas decision has 'the support of the Queen', their spokesman said, because other members of the royal family Prince William and Kate have done the same in the past. 

William and Kate spent Christmas with Kate's parents in Berkshire in 2012 and 2016.

But the decision by the Sussexes will not stem speculation about their isolation from the rest of the family and tensions between Harry and his brother. 

The couple also missed the annual royal gathering at Balmoral over the summer - although the Queen is a regular visitor to Frogmore Cottage.

She is said to be trying to help the Duke and Duchess of Sussex cope with the pressures of royal life by driving herself the mile-or-so from Windsor Castle to see them.

Royal biographer Ingrid Seward told The Sun: 'I think it's sad they don't want to be part of the family gathering, particularly now the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh are in their dotage.

'The Queen might be a little hurt but she's far too gracious to ever let it show or be known.' 

She added: 'It does seem to be nothing to do with Archie and to do with their own personal feelings.'

Last month William was said to be 'concerned' for his younger brother after he bared his soul in an emotional interview.

The Duke of Cambridge hoped his only sibling and his wife Meghan are 'all right' after both told of their struggles to cope as senior royals, a source said.

In a candid ITV documentary, Harry spoke about his mental health and his relationship with William, saying they have 'good days' and 'bad days' and are travelling on 'different paths'.

Meghan revealed friends had warned her about marrying into the Royal Family, while Harry described the way he deals with the pressures of his life as a matter of 'constant management'.

William and Kate also shared this photo of Charles, William and Harry in military uniform, which was taken to mark the 100th birthday celebrations of the Royal Air Force in July last year

William and Kate also shared this photo of Charles, William and Harry in military uniform, which was taken to mark the 100th birthday celebrations of the Royal Air Force in July last year

Where might Harry, Meghan and Archie spend Christmas 2019?

Frogmore Cottage

Frogmore Cottage, 19th century property gifted to the Sussexes by the Queen, has cost approaching £3million to convert.

The major works lasting more than a year have been completed and the couple will be tempted to enjoy them this Christmas. 

It been converted into five smaller staff houses and needed to be turned back into a single home. Ceilings and floors were replaced along with the addition of new bathrooms, bedrooms for the family and guests and a kitchen. 

Harry and Meghan were living together at Nottingham Cottage in the grounds of Kensington Palace after their engagement in November 2017.

They were offered the palace's grander Apartment 1, which boasts 21 rooms and adjoins William and Kate's Apartment 1A, but chose to move 20 miles away to Frogmore Cottage instead.

Ever since the Sussexes and the Cambridges have been dogged by reports of a major feud. 

US and Canada

Meghan's mother Doria is coming to the UK for Thanksgiving but there is a chance they could choose to fly back to America with her in December.

The couple spent long periods together in Toronto while Meghan filmed Suits in the early, secret stage of their relationship.

The Duchess of Sussex is known to love New York and many of her best friends are based there - hence why she chose it as the destination for her baby shower in February. 

They could choose to join Doria in LA, but that appears less likely. 

Africa

Harry and Meghan may choose a trip to Africa - a continent they love and where both have done charity and animal conservation work. 

The weather in that part of southern Africa is warmest and driest in the run up to Christmas, near-guaranteeing them good weather.

They could choose Namibia, South Africa or Botswana, where they visited recently and could allow them privacy.  

The fifth in line to the throne was said to be seriously considering it as an idyllic honeymoon destination after the three-week trip.

 

Meghan and Prince Harry were reported to be considering spending the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays in Los Angeles with Meghan's mother, Doria Ragland, 63.

But sources close to the American royal say the couple are now considering having Doria make the 11-hour journey in the opposite direction – spending Thanksgiving at Frogmore Cottage with the couple and their seven-month-old son Archie.

An insider told DailyMail.com: 'From what I know, they aren't coming here [to Los Angeles]. Doria is going there for the holiday [Thanksgiving].'

The source added: 'They won't be officially celebrating Thanksgiving because it isn't a British holiday but Meghan is considering spending some of the day helping out at a homeless shelter in London.'   

Last night a spokesman revealed they will instead spend the festive season with Meghan's mother Doria Ragland and their baby son, Archie, at an undisclosed location.

Intriguingly, sources said the Queen had no idea of her grandson's plans until he rang her yesterday at Buckingham Palace to inform her. 

She is said to be 'supportive' and understands that the couple want time out of the spotlight and for Meghan to be able to spend her first Christmas with her mother for two years.

A spokesman for the Sussexes said: 'Having spent the last two Christmases at Sandringham, their Royal Highnesses will spend the holiday this year, as a new family, with the duchess's mother Doria Ragland.

'This decision is in line with precedent set previously by other members of the Royal Family, and has the support of Her Majesty the Queen.

'For security reasons, we will not be providing further details on their schedule at this time.'

Although the Palace stressed that the couple's decision to miss the Royal Family's traditional Christmas celebrations on the monarch's Norfolk estate was in no way seen as a 'snub', it comes after they turned down an invitation to join her at Balmoral this summer.

But an aide insisted: 'The duke and duchess see a lot of the Queen as they now live at Windsor. That's why they didn't go to Scotland this summer and why the Queen is supportive of their decision about Christmas.' 

Harry's brother and sister-in-law, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, will spend Christmas at their Norfolk home, Anmer Hall, with their children Prince George, six, Princess Charlotte, four, and Prince Louis, one, and attend church with the monarch on Christmas Day.

One source said: 'When questions about what the duke and duchess would be doing were asked at the weekend, the couple said they still hadn't decided.

'The duke rang her personally at Buckingham Palace late in the afternoon to tell Her Majesty.'

Meghan Markle and her mother, Doria Ragland, could spend all of December together

Meghan Markle and her mother, Doria Ragland, could spend all of December together

The £2.4m overhaul of Frogmore Cottage  (pictured) was approved by the Queen, who is a regular visitor to the Sussexes' new home out of London - the most

The £2.4m overhaul of Frogmore Cottage  (pictured) was approved by the Queen, who is a regular visitor to the Sussexes' new home out of London - the most

Harry has one last official engagement on Sunday before he and Meghan begin a six-week sabbatical to spend time as a family. 

Although Meghan's mother Doria will be with her for Thanksgiving – whether in the US or the UK – none of the Duchess' other family members are likely to get an invitation.

Meghan's estranged uncle Mike, 80, told DailyMail.com he doesn't 'understand' the way she's 'her treated family.'  He suffers from Parkinson's Disease and a frail heart

Meghan's estranged uncle Mike, 80, told DailyMail.com he doesn't 'understand' the way she's 'her treated family.'  He suffers from Parkinson's Disease and a frail heart

Her estranged father Thomas, 73, will spend the holiday at his home in Rosarito, Mexico, while her siblings Thomas Jr, 53, and Samantha, 55, will be at their homes in Oregon and Florida respectively.

Last week, DailyMail.com revealed how her uncle Michael 'Mike' Markle, 80, believes he will never see his niece again and is 'not fond' of how the family have been treated.

He said: 'I doubt I'll hear from her again, even though I would like to. I don't understand her, the way she's treated her family. I'm not very fond of it.'

Michael, a retired diplomat, also complained that he has been ignored – despite having helped his niece get an internship at the US Embassy in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

He said: 'I've done more for her than others… I've probably done more for her than anyone. I personally talked to the ambassador in Argentina for her.

'I thought I would get an invitation [to the 2018 Royal Wedding] but I didn't hear from her.'

Meghan's siblings and father have also begged her to get in touch but to no avail so far.

Last Christmas, half-brother Thomas Jr even sent a card begging her to make peace with her family for the sake of her father.

He told DailyMail.com at the time: 'I made a point to reach out to Meghan again with a personalized Christmas card to her saying we should all put our differences aside and remember the family we had before.'

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle share an unseen photo from Archie's Christening as they lead royal well-wishes on 'grandpa' Prince Charles' 71st birthday 

The Queen's Instagram account shared this picture of Charles on his birthday today

The Queen's Instagram account shared this picture of Charles on his birthday today

Another snap shared by William and Kate shows Prince William and Prince Charles, dashing in military uniform, sharing a light-hearted moment at an unidentified formal evening event

Another snap shared by William and Kate shows Prince William and Prince Charles, dashing in military uniform, sharing a light-hearted moment at an unidentified formal evening event

The Duke of York shared this photo of himself in Prince Charles' arms as a baby to mark his older brother's birthday. The photo was taken in 1960, the year Prince Charles was born

The Duke of York shared this photo of himself in Prince Charles' arms as a baby to mark his older brother's birthday. The photo was taken in 1960, the year Prince Charles was born 

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have shared an unseen photo from Archie's Christening to celebrate Prince Charles's 71st birthday today. 

Prince Harry, 35, and Meghan Markle, 38, posted the sweet snap on their official Instagram account alongside a message wishing 'grandpa' Charles a happy birthday.

The photo shows Prince Charles looking lovingly at his grandson Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor cradled in Prince Harry's arms.  

The black-and-white image, which has not been seen publicly, was taken at Archie's Christening at Windsor Castle in July this year. 

The caption read: 'Happy birthday to His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales - Sir, Pa, Grandpa!,' accompanied by a birthday cake emoji. 

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge also wished the Prince of Wales a happy birthday on Instagram, as did the official Royal Family account, which documents the work of the Queen and other members of the monarchy. 

William and Kate shared three of their favourite family photos alongside a formal caption: 'Wishing a very happy Birthday to The Prince of Wales!'

The first photo shows Prince Charles holding Prince Louis hands while the Duchess of Cambridge, who is carrying her son, speaks to her father-in-law. 

It was part of a series of photos taken in the grounds of Clarence House to mark the Prince of Wales's 70th birthday last year. 

The second snap shows Prince William and Prince Charles, dashing in military uniform, sharing a light-hearted moment at an unidentified formal evening event.

The third captures Prince Charles laughing with his sons William and Harry in a photo taken to mark the centenary of the RAF last summer.  

 

Queen 'often pops in to Frogmore Cottage to visit Prince Harry and Meghan Markle as she bids to keep them in the Royal fold - but disagrees with their approach to the media'

The Queen is trying to help the Duke and Duchess of Sussex cope with the pressures of royal life in a desperate bid to reunite the family, it was claimed today.

Buckingham Palace yesterday announced Harry and Meghan will not be spending Christmas with the rest of the royals at Sandringham, fueling speculation of tension in the family. 

A statement said the Sussexes had the 'full support' of the monarch to be with Meghan's mother Doria Ragland, instead, as Harry's brother William and wife Kate have previously chosen to spend the festive period with her parents in Berkshire. 

Although some described the move as a 'snub' of Harry's 93-year-old grandmother, it has today been claimed the Queen is at the centre of the bid to bring the family back together.

She is trying to counsel them through their difficulties with media coverage and often visits them at Frogmore Cottage when she goes to neighbouring Windsor Castle, The Daily Express reports. 

Queen Elizabeth II after visiting Canongate Kirk in Edinburgh for the Sunday church service on June 30
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are pictured on November 9 at a Royal British Legion event

The Queen (left) is trying to help the Duke and Duchess of Sussex (right) cope with the pressures of royal life in a desperate bid to reunite the family, it was claimed today 

The newspaper claims the Queen does not agree with some of their decisions about press coverage, but is trying to guide them to heal rifts. 

A spokesman for the Sussexes said last night: 'Having spent the last two Christmases at Sandringham, their Royal Highnesses will spend the holiday this year, as a new family, with the duchess's mother Doria Ragland.

'This decision is in line with precedent set previously by other members of the Royal Family, and has the support of Her Majesty the Queen.

'For security reasons, we will not be providing further details on their schedule at this time.'

She is trying to counsel them through their difficulties with media coverage and often visits them at Frogmore Cottage (pictured) when she goes to neighbouring Windsor Castle

She is trying to counsel them through their difficulties with media coverage and often visits them at Frogmore Cottage (pictured) when she goes to neighbouring Windsor Castle

Although the Palace stressed that the couple's decision to miss the Royal Family's traditional Christmas celebrations on the monarch's Norfolk estate was in no way a 'snub', it comes after they turned down an invitation to join her at Balmoral this summer.

But an aide insisted: 'The duke and duchess see a lot of the Queen as they now live at Windsor. 

'That's why they didn't go to Scotland this summer and why the Queen is supportive of their decision about Christmas.'

The couple could spend it quietly at their new Windsor home with Miss Ragland for the first time – seen as the most likely option – or go abroad, either to the US or even Africa, which Harry views as his 'second home'.

The six-week sabbatical will begin after Harry's last official engagement of the year on Sunday. 

It is likely to coincide with Thanksgiving, which falls on November 28 this year. 

 

Duke and Duchess of Sussex share Archie photo with Charles

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