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Prince Harry and Meghan to spend holidays away from royal family

Toby Melville/AFP/Getty

It looks like the Duke and Duchess of Sussex are taking their holiday cheer outside the royal family this year.

A spokesperson for the royal couple has confirmed to CNN that the new family will be spending the festive period with Meghan’s mother Doria Ragland.

Prior to the birth of baby Archie, the couple spent their last two Christmases with the Queen at Sandringham, the 93-year-old monarch’s country estate in rural Norfolk, about 100 miles north of London.

The Queen normally hosts Christmas at the Sandringham estate, where she is joined by many members of the royal family. Traditionally on Christmas morning, the family is greeted by well-wishers as they head to a service at the church of St. Mary Magdalene on the estate’s grounds.

This year’s 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 spokesperson said. In 2016, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge chose to forgo Christmas with the Queen and spend time with Kate’s family instead.

It is not yet clear where the Sussexes will spend the festive period. The spokesperson added that “for security reasons, we will not be providing further details on their schedule at this time.”

The Sussexes will soon be taking a break from royal duties to spend time as a family. A royal source told CNN in October that they would split their time between the US and the UK. The source added that there were no firm plans yet and so could not say exactly how long Harry and Meghan would take away from the public eye.

The break comes after the pair opened up about their struggles with the intense media spotlight in a recent documentary. Filmed during the couple’s tour of southern Africa, Meghan explained how the media spotlight since joining the royal family had been “challenging.”

In an emotional interview, Meghan said, “Not many people have asked if I’m OK, but it’s a very real thing to be going through behind the scenes.”

Separately, Harry spoke of how the relentless attention reminded him of his mother’s death 22 years ago and continues to affect his mental health.

“It’s constant management… I thought I was out of the woods and then it all suddenly all came back,” Harry revealed. “Part of this job and part of any job, like anybody, means putting on a brave face, and turning a cheek to a lot of this stuff.”

Meghan’s insight into her personal life prompted more than 70 female UK lawmakers to sign an open letter condemning her treatment by some of the country’s media outlets.

Parliamentarians from across the political spectrum criticized “what can only be described as outdated, colonial undertones to some of these stories,” adding that this could not “be allowed to go unchallenged.”

In recent months, both Harry and Meghan have begun legal action against multiple British newspapers.

At the start of October, Harry joined a lawsuit against the owners of The Sun and The Mirror for alleged phone hacking dating back to the early 2000s. Meanwhile, Meghan is suing The Mail on Sunday over the publication of a private letter she sent to her father.

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