Royal Expert Reveals Why Meghan And Harry Won't Be Visiting The Queen For Christmas

When Prince Harry and wife Meghan Markle exited their duties as senior members of the royal family and left the U.K., fans wondered when they would return. 

While Harry has traveled home on two occasions, once for the funeral of his grandfather, Prince Philip (via BBC), and the second time to unveil a statue of his late mother, Princess Diana (via Reuters), Meghan has yet to make her way back to Britain. Because the Duke and Duchess of Sussex were forced to stay home during the 2020 holidays due to the COVID-19 pandemic, some wondered if they would opt to spend Christmas 2021 in the U.K. with the royals.

Recently, Harry's grandmother, Queen Elizabeth, has been suffering from some health issues, and the duke was said to go into "panic mode" when he heard that the Queen stayed overnight in the hospital. Sources told Us Weekly that Harry "feels guilty" about not getting to say goodbye to his grandfather, who died in April 2021 at the age of 99. 

"[He] would never forgive himself if the same thing happened with his beloved grandmother," the source stated, adding that Harry is "hoping to go back home for Christmas with Meghan, if not before so that she can finally get to meet [her great-granddaughter] Lilibet and see [great-grandson] Archie again."

However, one royal expert is now revealing that Harry and Meghan aren't likely to spend the holiday season across the pond this year.

Are Meghan Markle and Prince Harry skipping Christmas with the royal family?

According to Express, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle may opt to stay home in California during the 2021 holiday season. Although rumors have been circulating that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex were entertaining the idea of returning to the U.K. to spend Christmas with the royal family, royal expert Stewart Pearce reveals that the duo isn't likely to close out the year in Britain.

"So Harry and Megan won't be able to because of their own particular arrangements," Pearce told "Royally US" host Christina Garibaldi. "They're very, very busy with the next project or the series of projects because there's a lot going on."

Pearce went on to explain that Christmas will feel much different for Queen Elizabeth and the rest of the royal family this year following the death of her longtime husband, Prince Philip, in April 2021. 

"Certainly all the families will be coming together to see the Queen at Sandringham and particularly because Philip will no longer be there," the author said. "It'll be a tough Christmas, a different Christmas." 

"I find her absolutely extraordinary, the way that she continues and is a great illustration to us all about how to transcend self-pity," Pearce said about the Queen. Garibaldi agreed: "It's remarkable. She really is such a strong woman."

Meanwhile, Meghan and Harry have yet to make any public comments about where they'll be spending the holidays this year.

Where are the other royals spending Christmas?

Although Christmas won't be the same without their dearly departed patriarch, Prince Philip, the royals will be sticking to tradition for the most part in 2021. 

Elle notes that they were prevented from attending service in Norfolk on Christmas Day in 2020 due to strict coronavirus restrictions. Now, though, most restrictions have been lifted, so the Queen is adamant that it'll be a normal Christmas, at least as much as possible. 

Although she's been ill lately, a source confirmed to The Mirror that she's looking forward to being present for the festivities. "Her Majesty is resting under doctors' orders with the intention of being able to fully enjoy the company of her extended family over the holiday period," said an insider, adding that the Queen is "totally committed to hosting everyone."

It's unclear whether Prince William, wife Kate Middleton, and their kids will spend Christmas with his family, hers, or a combination of both, but it'd be highly surprising if they didn't stop by Sandringham to see the Queen at some stage. Last year, Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles opted to stay home in Highgrove rather than risk traveling to see the Queen, but it remains to be seen whether they'll make the trip this year. 

The royal family usually exchanges gifts on Christmas Eve, in a nod to their German heritage, so it's entirely possible they'll meet then rather than the following day so as not to overwhelm the Queen.

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry remain close to the Queen

Rumors about the disintegrating relationship between Prince Harry, Meghan Markle, and the Queen are guaranteed to gather steam again if the couple does indeed opt out of spending Christmas with her this year. But it's worth noting that there's nothing to suggest that things are as strained as royal watchers would like to believe. 

As Marie Claire reported in August 2021, in reality, Meghan and Harry remain as close to his grandmother as they ever have been — maybe even more so. Royal biographer Omid Scobie confirmed: "When it comes to that relationship with the Queen, it is as strong as ever — they have nothing but love for her." He pointed out that the Sussexes named their daughter after her childhood nickname, "so that really gives us an insight into that close relationship."

Scobie was appearing on "Good Morning America" at the time and utilized the opportunity to set the record straight. The co-author of "Finding Freedom" claimed to have discussed the situation with those closest to the couple and clarified that Meghan and Harry's issue is with the institution itself, not the Queen personally. 

In fact, when they spoke out about their mistreatment in an interview with Oprah Winfrey, the Duke and Duchess didn't make any references to Her Majesty. Moreover, when rumors emerged that the Queen was the one responsible for being racist toward her great-grandson, Archie, Winfrey quickly shot them down, per CBS News.