Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will be skipping out on the official royal Christmas this year. That revelation led some fans to believe that the couple was intentionally snubbing the queen. As it turns out, though, Queen Elizabeth II isn't all that upset about their absence.
The two released a statement explaining their decision, and their reasoning seemed to have been logical. Because they have a new family, they wanted to spend their Christmas away from all the royal pageantry.
"The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are looking forward to extended family time towards the end of this month," the statement said. "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."
The statement also made it clear that the Queen is fine with this plan. "This decision is in line with the precedent set previously by other members of the Royal Family, and has the support of Her Majesty The Queen," it said.
On the surface, it may seem like choosing to spend the holiday away from the Queen is a bit of a snubbing of her and the monarchy in general. In reality, though, the couple's decision isn't all that unusual.
Other members of the royal family have missed the Sandringham holiday in the past, including occasions when William and Kate have spent holidays with her family. In some ways, they're splitting time between the families just like a normal married couple might.
Royal reporter Omid Scobie discussed their decision in a conversation with ITV news royal producer Lizzie Robinson on "The Heir" podcast.
"William and Kate have taken a number of Christmases away from Sandringham," Scobie shared. "They like to mix it up, so some years they are with the Middletons… in 2012, 2014, and 2016, they skipped out on the Sandringham celebration. I think Harry and Meghan doing it once is certainly allowed." It's not as if they're breaking a sacred royal tradition.
Scobie continued by adding: "The Sussexes are on official leave at the moment so there are no expectations for them to be there [for Christmas]. I think it’s quite normal. We’ve seen members of the royal family on absence on their own personal leave in the past."
Even the royal family needs a break from their busy lives during the holiday season. This year, Harry and Meghan have decided to take that break with Meghan's family, and everyone involved is totally fine with it.