Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are ‘unlikely’ to join the Royal Family at Sandringham for Christmas

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are unlikely to join the Royal Family at Sandringham for their first Christmas without the Queen.

King Charles is understood to have invited Meghan and Harry, who remain ‘much loved’ members of the family despite quitting Royal duties nearly three years ago.

But a source close to the King said: ‘They are unlikely to attend.’

It will be the first time that Charles hosts the annual family gathering and Christmas break at the private estate in Norfolk.

The Prince and Princess of Wales will be there, staying at nearby Anmer Hall, the home they were given by the Queen.

Other family members are expected to join the King and Queen Consort on their walk to church on Christmas morning.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are unlikely to join the Royal Family at Sandringham for their first Christmas without the Queen. Pictured: Harry and Meghan in October 2018

King Charles is understood to have invited Meghan and Harry, who remain 'much loved' members of the family despite quitting Royal duties nearly three years ago.  Pictured: Then-Prince Charles with William, Kate, Prince George and Princess Charlotte on Christmas in 2019

King Charles is understood to have invited Meghan and Harry, who remain ‘much loved’ members of the family despite quitting Royal duties nearly three years ago. Pictured: Then-Prince Charles with William, Kate, Prince George and Princess Charlotte on Christmas in 2019

The Royal Family has made Sandringham their base for Christmas and New Year since 1988.

Although the family traditionally spends the holiday at the country estate, the last few years had seen a change in routine due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The royals are expected to celebrate in Sandringham this year as they navigate their first Christmas since Queen Elizabeth II died.

There will be those within the Royal Family who may breathe a sigh of relief if the Sussexes send their regrets.

After Meghan described the late Queen’s funeral as ‘complicated’, the Sussexes’ presence over the mince pies may not go down well.

Harry is poised to release his bombshell memoirs in the New Year and a Netflix program before that.

The book – titled Spare as a ‘loaded’ reference to his position as the younger brother of the heir to the throne – will feature the painful episode of his mother’s tragic death, the publishers say.

The Royals have made Sandringham their base for Christmas and New Year since 1988, however in 2020 and 2021, the Queen will spend Christmas at Windsor.  The Queen is pictured with William and Kate at Windsor in December 2020

The Royals have made Sandringham their base for Christmas and New Year since 1988, however in 2020 and 2021, the Queen will spend Christmas at Windsor. The Queen is pictured with William and Kate at Windsor in December 2020

The late Queen spent about two months each winter on the Sandringham Estate and broadcast her first televised Christmas message from there (pictured) in 1957

The late Queen spent about two months each winter on the Sandringham Estate and broadcast her first televised Christmas message from there (pictured) in 1957

Royal Christmases at Sandringham

During the 1960s, when the Queen’s children were young, many festive seasons were celebrated at Windsor, but since 1988, when the castle was rewired, royal Christmases returned to Sandringham.

The Queen traditionally spent both Christmas and New Year at the estate, before leaving in February.

She usually returned to London or Windsor on the anniversary of her father’s death on February 6.

Last year, a Royal insider told the Mail on Sunday the Sandringham estate was special ‘not only because of all the fond memories of Prince Philip and the hard work he did to transform the estate, but also because it’s the very place where her father passed away’.

Sources close to the couple recently told The Mirror that relations between Harry and Meghan and the rest of the royal family are ‘near rock bottom.’

Family members were not informed of the title in advance of the announcement, while the Spanish language version is even more pointed, having been given the subtitle En La Sombra, or ‘in the shadow’.

The royal family was reportedly surprised at the memoir’s title.

Some analysts predict the book could spell ‘the end’ for any reconciliation efforts between the Sussexes and the royals.

An initial release date had been penciled in for ‘late 2022’ to capitalize on the lucrative Christmas market, but the book will not be on the shelves until January 10.

The postponed release was said to be as a mark of respect following the death of the Queen.

A spokesman for the King declined to comment on the book. But it is understood that the Royal Household has already been warned that the 416-page, £28 book is ‘critical of everyone and everything’ and they are ‘dreading’ it.

Meanwhile, Sandringham royal estate is starting the festive season early, with its lights display having opened to the public on Friday.

Harry is poised to release his bombshell memoirs in the New Year.  His book, Spare, will feature the painful episode of his mother's tragic death, the publishers say

Harry is poised to release his bombshell memoirs in the New Year. His book, Spare, will feature the painful episode of his mother’s tragic death, the publishers say

While most towns are holding out another week until their Christmas light switch-ons – and some having been canceled altogether because of high energy prices – the mile-long Winter Light Trail through the Royal Parkland in Norfolk has already returned for its third year.

The ‘captivating light trail’, which takes between 60 and 90 minutes and is on between November 11 and December 18, will set you back £42 for a couple or £65 for a family of four.

Set to ‘ambient music’, visitors will follow the mile-long lights trail as it meanders through the historic Country Park, with 13 ‘wow moments’ along the way.

Fire pits will be lit for guests to toast marshmallows and festive food and drink will be on offer in the courtyard but the event’s website warns prospective attendees not to expect ‘traditional festive decorations’ or a Father Christmas.

Luminate has returned to Sandringham for its third year, with a mile-long lights trail as well as a vintage fairground (pictured)

Luminate has returned to Sandringham for its third year, with a mile-long lights trail as well as a vintage fairground (pictured)

Set to 'ambient music', visitors will follow the mile-long lights trail as it meanders through the historic Country Park, with 13 'wow moments' along the way

Set to ‘ambient music’, visitors will follow the mile-long lights trail as it meanders through the historic Country Park, with 13 ‘wow moments’ along the way

The 'captivating light trail', which takes between 60 and 90 minutes and is on between November 11 and December 18, will set you back £42 for a couple or £65 for a family of four

The ‘captivating light trail’, which takes between 60 and 90 minutes and is on between November 11 and December 18, will set you back £42 for a couple or £65 for a family of four

There is also a vintage fairground – for which additional tickets must be bought at a cost of £3 per ride – complete with a helter skelter, flying chairs, a carousel and a Ferris Wheel.

The lights display will give visitors the chance to explore the grounds of the Queen’s former Christmas retreat, which since her death has become one of the royal residences of Charles III.

Located near the parish of Sandringham in Norfolk, the Grade II-listed house sits in a 20,000-acre estate in the Norfolk Coast Area of ​​Outstanding Natural Beauty.

The late Queen spent about two months each winter on the Sandringham Estate and broadcast her first televised Christmas message from there.

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