Harry & Meghan release picture with red-haired Archie and their dogs in 2020 Christmas card

Maria Puente, USA TODAY
·4 min read

Merry Christmas, from Harry and Meghan and Archie, plus Guy and Pula the dogs, from sunny and warm California.

As expected, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex released their Christmas card Wednesday, featuring an illustrated version of a photo of them gathered in front of a children's playhouse in the backyard of their Santa Barbara County estate, flanked by a small Christmas tree and a red poinsettia.

"Wishing you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year," the card reads.

Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan of Sussex play with their son Archie and their dogs in their 2020 Christmas card image.
Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan of Sussex play with their son Archie and their dogs in their 2020 Christmas card image.

The original photo of the family was taken at their home earlier this month by Meghan's mother, Doria Ragland.The Christmas tree, including homemade ornaments and other decorations selected by Archie, will be replanted after the holidays, according to the couple's press secretary, Toya Holness.

All three are dressed casually in jeans or leggings and button-down shirts and pullovers. Meghan, 39, is wearing knee-high boots. Archie, who turned 1 in May, appears to have a full head of ginger-brown hair. Harry, 36, is holding Archie between his knees and grinning happily.

Guy the beagle, Meghan's dog, is laser-focused on the duchess in the picture, while Pula the black Labrador, who joined the family after the couple married in May 2018, snoozes on the lawn in front of the grey-and-blue playhouse, which has a distinct California country style.

The card first appeared in a tweet by Mayhew, the dog-and-cat rescue organization in London for which Meghan serves as the royal patron.

"We’re thrilled to receive wonderful Christmas wishes from our Patron, The Duchess of Sussex, who also made a personal donation, helping dogs, cats and our community. From all of us at Mayhew, thank you and Merry Christmas," the tweet said.

Christmas cards with pictures have become a favorite royal tradition, especially prized by fans of the Sussexes and Prince William and his wife, Duchess Kate of Cambridge, and their three kids, Prince George, 7, Princess Charlotte, 5, and Prince Louis, 2.

The royal Christmas card is here! Prince William, Kate, Duchess of Cambridge and their children, Prince George, left, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis, center, post together.
The royal Christmas card is here! Prince William, Kate, Duchess of Cambridge and their children, Prince George, left, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis, center, post together.

The Cambridge card and picture has already been released: It shows the family of five dressed casually before a huge wall of firewood at their Anmer Hall country retreat. The photo was taken in the fall by photographer Matt Porteous, according to Kensington Palace.

The Prince of Wales' Christmas card, showing Prince Charles and Duchess Camilla of Cornwall sitting cozy on a bench in his luxuriant garden, also came out earlier.

When Harry and Meghan were still living in Britain and still senior working royals, they, too, released cards just before Christmas:

Their 2018 card, for their first Christmas as a married couple, was a black-and-white arty shot of them watching fireworks during their wedding reception the previous May.

Their 2019 card featured a super-closeup shot of super cute baby Archie staring determinedly into the camera as his parents laughed in the background.

The Sussexes have been living in California since March, after they shocked Britain by announcing they were stepping away from their royal roles and heading to North America for more freedom, privacy and financial independence.

The moved to Montecito near Santa Barbara in the summer, buying a multimillion-dollar estate in a pricey neighborhood where they have spent the bulk of the coronavirus pandemic, now re-surging in California.

But they have set themselves up as Hollywood moguls in the making, signing lucrative deals with Netflix and Spotify to create content and podcasts.

Because of the pandemic they were not expected back in the United Kingdom, which is in the middle of its own virus resurgence. The pandemic has forced the royal family to alter their traditional Christmas festivities at Sandringham; instead members of the family are celebrating separately.

Queen Elizabeth II, 94, and Prince Philip, 99, are celebrating "quietly" and alone at Windsor Castle, where the sovereign has spent much of the pandemic since March.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Harry Meghan and Archie are illustrated in 2020 Christmas card