Meghan Markle and Prince Harry are spending their first Christmas as a family of three in Canada with baby Archie. The royal couple is seemingly hoping for some private time after a controversial couple of months.
As with every season, the British royal family has Christmas traditions. This year, however, Harry and Meghan are forgoing those traditions for some family time with their seven-month-old son.
Prince Harry, Meghan Markle & their son Archie meet Archbishop Desmond Tutu in Cape Town, South Africa on Sept. 25, 2019 | Photo: Getty Images
A royal spokesperson for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex confirmed to Insider on Saturday that they are already "spending private family time in Canada."
Queen Elizabeth's husband, Prince Philip, however, may miss the festivities as he was admitted to a London hospital
"The decision to base themselves in Canada reflects the importance of this Commonwealth country to them both," the statement continued. Meghan lived in Canada for years as an actress while filming the TV series "Suits."
The royal statement added:
"The Duke of Sussex has been a frequent visitor to Canada over many years, and it was also home to The Duchess for seven years before she became a member of the Royal Family. They are enjoying sharing the warmth of the Canadian people and the beauty of the landscape with their young son."
According to PEOPLE, it was previously revealed that Harry and Meghan would take about six weeks off toward the end of the year to spend time together as a family amid the intense scrutiny they've endured so far.
Meghan, a former American actress, seemed to have been faced with hostility upon her entrance into British royalty. Things came to a head earlier this year after she and Harry were criticized for everything from their son's christening to their use of private jets.
The couple recently opened up about the impact of the scrutiny in a moving documentary titled "Harry and Meghan: An African Journey." Even that bit of exposition sparked a backlash from non-fans.
It's no surprise, then, that Harry and Meghan are choosing to skip the royal traditions. They will not be participating in the public walk to church on Christmas morning or in the gift exchange over tea on Christmas Eve.
"The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are looking forward to extended family time towards the end of this month," Buckingham Palace had said in a November statement.
"Having spent the last two Christmases at Sandringham, Their Royal Highnesses will spend the holiday this year, as a new family, with the Duchess' mother Doria Ragland," it added.
Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, welcomed the Duke and Duchess of Sussex with a tweet, wishing their family "a quiet and blessed stay in Canada. You're among friends, and always welcome here."
According to Insider, Harry and Meghan's decision is not unprecedented. Prince William and Kate Middleton reportedly spent Christmas 2016 with her family in Berkshire.
Meanwhile, this year, the rest of the royal family is getting ready for Christmas as usual, CBS News reported. Kensington Palace recently released a four-generation photo of the Queen and her family members bonding over a traditional Christmas pudding.
Queen Elizabeth's husband, Prince Philip, however, may miss the festivities as he was admitted to a London hospital on Friday. He is expected to be there for a few days.