Buckingham Palace has confirmed the Duke and Duchess of Sussex will not be spending Christmas with the Queen.
The Sussexes six-week break is likely to begin with Thanksgiving, which falls on November 28 this year.
It is not clear whether the couple will fly to Doria’s home in Los Angeles or she will travel to Frogmore Cottage.
Royal watchers feared the move could worsen tensions between the couple and the rest of the royal family, following recent from comments from Harry that he and his brother were ‘on different paths at the moment.’
Prince Harry, Meghan Markle and their son Archie (pictured together in South Africa) will be spending the festive season with Meghan’s mother Doria Ragland and not at Sandringham with the Queen and the other royals
The couple have the ‘support of the Queen’ (left) with regards to their plans, as other members of the family have done the same in the past. Pictured right: Doria Ragland and daughter Meghan before her wedding last year
Two years ago, Meghan joined the Royal Family for her first Christmas at Sandringham and the couple were seen putting on a united front with William and Kate
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With just months to go until she and Prince Harry tied the knot, Meghan Markle (as she was known then!) joined the Royal Family at church on Christmas Day 2017, looking every inch a duchess-to-be.
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A palace spokesman said this evening: ‘The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are looking forward to extended family time towards the end of this month.
‘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.
‘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.’
The Sussexes, who will be taking a six-week break after Sunday when Harry, 35, attends a Royal Albert Hall event, are likely to be spending Thanksgiving with Meghan’s mother as well.
But it is not clear whether they will spend it in the US or England.
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.’
Meghan and Harry have spent the last two Christmases at the royal estate in Norfolk.
Phil Dampier, author of the book Royally Suited: Harry and Meghan In Their Own Words, told MailOnline: ‘If they had something else lined up, like a big family Christmas with her family and it was their turn, you could understand them dropping out, rather like William and Kate sometimes spend the day with the Middletons.
‘But of course Meghan is estranged from everyone in her family apart from her mother, who they will probably see during their six-week break.
‘So if they just don’t want to be with the Queen and the rest of the royals it is very telling and worrying.
‘Maybe they will have time to reflect on their problems in the coming weeks and hopefully realise that thinking of themselves as victims and outsiders is not helping anyone.
‘All families have their tensions at Christmas of course but this one is played out in the eyes of the world.’
He suggested the pair might have a change of heart in the coming weeks and decide to rebuild bridges with other royals come Christmas.
The plans emerged before the Cambridges and Sussexes delighted fans by naming each other in twinned Instagram posts yesterday.
The two couples – once dubbed ‘the fab four’ – both posted online celebrating the work of Shout – a 24/7 crisis text service – which was launched by both royal couples in May.
It had been thought they would return to Sandringham for Christmas but they informed Her Majesty, 93, that they will not be joining her and Prince Philip, 98 this year
Harry’s plans emerged this morning after a royal source said: ‘They need some time away to recharge and decide their plans for next year.’
Royal biographer Ingrid Seward told The Sun: ‘Christmas at Sandringham can be quite stressful so perhaps they don’t want to go with Archie at such a young age.
‘Having said that, Sandringham has played host to many many children through the ages and is well set up for them.
‘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.’
Harry has always spent Christmas at the Queen’s Norfolk home, barring 2012 when he was serving in Afghanistan.
For the past two years he has been joined by Meghan, 38, who alongside him also skipped the royals’ annual holiday in Balmoral this year.
Ms Seward added: ‘It does seem to be nothing to do with Archie and to do with their own personal feelings.’
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will both be at Sandringham with George, six, Charlotte, four and Louis, one.
Royal author Phil Dampier said the Sussexes appear to see themselves as ‘outsiders’ while biographer Ingrid Seward said it was a shame they didn’t want a Christmas with the royals