Inside Duchess Meghan, Prince Harry, and Archie’s California Christmas Plans

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Yesterday, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex issued their Christmas cards via Mayhew, an animal charity for which Duchess Meghan serves as patron. The portrait is adapted from a photograph that Meghan’s mother Doria took of the family of three: Prince Harry, Meghan and an almost eighteen month old Archie together with their two rescue cubs, beagle Guy and black lab Pula, in their backyard in their new home in Montecito, California

A spokesman for the Duke and Duchess told ELLE.com: “The original photo of the family was taken at their home earlier this month by the Duchess’ mother. The small Christmas tree including homemade ornaments and other decorations was chosen by Archie and the tree will be replanted after the holidays. ”

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Alongside the card, Mayhew revealed that Sussexes made donations to three charities – Mayhew, the Henry Van Straubenzee Memorial Fund, which helps disadvantaged children in Uganda, and the Transition House, which supports the homeless. Prince Harry and Prince William are both protectors of the Henry van Straubenezee Memorial Fund, which was set up when their childhood friend died in a tragic car accident.

The message on the holiday card reads: “This year, as a family, we have made donations to several charities with you in mind. From a local organization in California that helps families move out of homelessness to two of our British protectors, one that supports animal and community welfare, and the other, a memorial fund that helps educate children and fight poverty in Uganda, we have honored their work on behalf of us all. ”

We have not seen an updated picture of Archie that is now going on since Prince Harry and Meghan shared an adorable video of the Duchess reading And, rabbit! to Archie on his first birthday when the little boy showed that he was the dangerous image of his father of the same age. The video was shot by Prince Harry and posted on the UK’s Save the Children website to support the #savewithstories campaign for coronavirus-affected families. The book was a gift to the couple from Oprah Winfrey, who has since become neighbors to Harry and Meghan after the bought their “forever home” near Oprah Estate in Montecito, California.

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The Sussexes have been eager to protect their son’s privacy so he can “grow up in as normal an environment as possible” and have only released limited photographs of a growing Archie. The seventh in the throne queue is now going and growing by leaps and bounds.

Archie accompanied his parents on the couple’s royal trip to South Africa in just four months. He participated a visit for tea at the home of Nobel Peace Prize winner Archbishop Desmond Tutu, but has largely been out of sight since Harry and Meghan resigned from their roles as senior king last March to live a more private life.

Meghan and Harry told Malala Yousafzai earlier this fall that while isolating themselves at home, they have been able to enjoy all of Archie’s milestones. We “were both there for his first step, his first run, his first fall, his first everything,” Harry shared and Meghan added: “And it’s just amazing because I believe in so many ways we’re lucky to be in able to have this time to see him grow, and in the absence of COVID we would travel and work more remotely and we would miss many of those moments … So I think it has been very really good family time. “

ELLE.com has learned that the family intends to spend their first Christmas in the United States “at home quietly with Meghan’s mother Doria in Santa Barbara.” Meghan, who is a skilled gourmet chef, will prepare some of their favorite dishes. Sussexes will “exchange Christmas presents with the whole family.” Harry and Meghan have sent gifts to Prince William and Kate and the couple’s children Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis.

ELLE also understands that Harry and Meghan will “talk to family members during the holidays, just like any family.” COVID-19 has really brought the family closer together. Both Prince Charles and Prince William contracted the disease, and Prince Harry was obviously worried about being so far away. Harry stays close to his grandmother, Queen Elizabeth, who will also spend Christmas “quietly” at Windsor Castle in a departure from tradition as a result of the pandemic. Harry plans to talk to her via video call so she and Prince Philip can enjoy watching their sweet great-granddaughter Archie.

The Queen has isolated herself at Windsor Castle with a small group of employees in what is called the HMS Bubble. The family usually gathers each year at Sandringham, but due to the closure in London and south-eastern parts of the nation downgraded to level 4 restrictions, the Christmas party that allowed the three families to celebrate together for most of the years has all been canceled. The queen had a brief reunion at Windsor Castle with Prince William, Kate, Prince Charles and Camila after Cambridge’s togtur a few weeks ago.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex spent last Christmas away from the Royal Family of Canada at the Mille Fleurs estate in North Saanich on the tip of the Vancouver Island peninsula. Last year, the couple also shared a cute photo of Archie during the holidays taken by Meghan’s dear friend, The Morning Show actress Janina Gavankar and a cute video of the couple’s years in review, which featured a picture of Archie’s baby that his father had.

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ELLE understands that the couple has no imminent plans to return to London in the foreseeable future due to COVID-19 health guidelines. Whether they return in late spring for Prince Philip’s 100th birthday and the Queen’s 95th official birthday party, Trooping the Color, both in June, remains up in the air. Currently, Harry and Meghan follow all relevant medical recommendations and travel guidelines.

The couple had planned to attend Prince Harry’s Invictus game for wounded, wounded and sick service members and veterans in The Hague last spring until the event was postponed in light of travel restrictions due to the global pandemic. The unveiling of the Princess Diana statue at Kensington Palace is also expected later in 2021, but it is unclear at this time whether it could be postponed as a result of global travel restrictions.

The Sussexes had planned to return to London in the next few weeks for the ongoing violation of the privacy lawsuit against associated newspapers and the Post on Sunday, but that has been exposed for nine months until next fall. The judge could still give a summary verdict in the case which would prevent them from returning.

Meanwhile, Harry and Meghan and a growing Archie are enjoying family time together in their new home, while the Sussexes have been busy with their humanitarian and charitable work through their non-profit Archewell. Just last week, the Duchess announced an investment in a woman-founded oatmeal latte company. And on the weekends Archewell’s partnership with World Central Kitchen was announced, which will help those across the globe who suffer from food insecurity, a topic that Harry and Meghan have brought to their attention by volunteering in food banks and distribute food to the vulnerable since the pandemic started. 2021 promises to be an exciting year ahead of Sussexes and Archewell.

Carolyn Durand is a royal contributor to ELLE.com and Oprah.com, covering the royal family for more than 15 years.

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