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So Harry and Meghan don't want a Norfolk Christmas? So what? Even Royals can't be in two places at once...

PUBLISHED: 16:03 14 November 2019 | UPDATED: 09:17 15 November 2019

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle aren't having Christmas at Sandringham Photo: PA

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle aren't having Christmas at Sandringham Photo: PA

PA Wire/PA Images

Harry and Meghan are hardly the first couple to be torn in two over where to spend Christmas. We should give them a break, says Liz Nice

Prince Harry won't be with his Dad this year but we're sure Charles will understand. Here is the Prince Charles with Harry and  Archie, which was posted on Instagram to wish Charles a happy 71st (Instagram @sussexroyal via AP)Prince Harry won't be with his Dad this year but we're sure Charles will understand. Here is the Prince Charles with Harry and Archie, which was posted on Instagram to wish Charles a happy 71st (Instagram @sussexroyal via AP)

Harry and Meghan have caused a bit of a stir, but then, they were always going to.

Meghan is a woman with her own mind and, I suspect, the stronger of the two within that partnership. Harry always looks as though he can't believe his luck and good for him. To marry for love is infinitely preferable to the alternative, as his parents taught him well.

But Christmas was always going to be an issue.

Meghan is very close to her mother and it is normally the more determined partner who gets to decide where Christmas Day is to be spent.

This is why I spent two decades never having Christmas Day with my parents - we always spent it with the family of my ex.

I didn't mind, it was just what we did, I got on well with them all, and my parents were very understanding. We even made a boon of it - always having two Christmas dinners and two Christmas Days so that, ultimately, nobody would be left out.

The papers are saying today that the Queen is a bit 'hurt' by Harry's decision, and no doubt she will miss her beloved grandson and the light he brings into her life, but she will understand the situation all too well.

She has seen it from the other side, with her former daughter in law the Duchess of York always banished from the Royal Christmas (reputedly because she did not get on with Prince Philip) and having to give up her daughters to the stronger side of the family every time.

Apparently, the Queen used to nip down to see Sarah for a festive sherry. I really hope that's true, as it makes me like the Queen even more than I do already. It shows a thoughtfulness and tact, which is what Christmas is all about.

Christmas is always such an emotive time and it is no surprise that divorce lawyers are busiest in January.

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Everything comes to a head and with the pressure of having to see some people you perhaps love but don't like very much, it's a potent cocktail.

Harry, he has hinted himself, is not on the best of terms with his brother at this time, so he and Meghan probably both feel that they would rather, the first Christmas with their new son, have a relaxed Christmas with mother-in-law helping with the baby side of things, than have to put on a front of fake bonhomie with an audience of the entire Royal family watching.

I don't blame them.

It's not uncommon for couples, once they have a child of their own, to feel braver about saying what they want to do.

I doubt the festivities will pass without some contact with the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh. We put too much store on the day itself - and if Harry is missing Granny he can always tune in at 3pm and watch her on the telly.

Christmas Day is just a day.

Harry and Meghan aren't letting down their public, merely going through the 'who shall we disappoint this year?' rigmarole that is being played out in homes, right now, all over the country.

Why is it any more shocking that they would disappoint the Queen than it would be if they were to disappoint Doria? Both women will love them equally, both will long for their presence but will understand that even Royals can't cut themselves in two.

It shouldn't be forgotten too that William and Kate have missed Christmas at Sandringham twice since 2012 - spending time with the Middletons instead - and no one made much of a deal about that because, ultimately, most families end up alternating.

Even if there has been a falling out, the suggestion that turning up at Christmas will put it all to rights is ludicrous. The pressures of Christmas - 'You've got me that, William, what were you thinking?' are more likely to inflate any drama than to calm it down.

So let's leave them to their decision - as we would all prefer to be left to ours - and stop gossiping and speculating about feuds and hurt feelings.

Although I fear that is what I have just done - because speculating about what the Royals are up to is always preferable to having to sort out our own affairs and family Christmases, isn't it?

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