Ahead of Queen Ellizabeth's annual Christmas address, the royal family has released a photo of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's holiday card featuring baby Archie, who's celebrating his first Christmas. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex made clear last month they wouldn't be spending the winter season with the royal family. 

They are in Canada rather than spending the Christmas holidays at Sandringham Estate — the queen's rural retreat, as has long been customary for senior royals.

Prince Harry and Meghan did send out a holiday greeting, which the Queen's Commonwealth Trust tweeted was "the sweetest."

A rift has reportedly developed between Prince Harry and Prince William and, according to the Associated Press, both Harry and Meghan have complained about constant scrutiny by the media as they settle into family life with 7-month-old Archie.

Queen Elizabeth's address is expected to emphasize the need for reconciliation and forgiveness. "The path, of course, is not always smooth, and may at times this year have felt quite bumpy, but small steps can make a world of difference," Elizabeth is to say, according to the Associated Press.

She is thought to be referring both to Britain's tumultuous path out of the European Union, which led to a lengthy political stalemate broken only earlier this month when voters gave the pro-Brexit Conservative Party a comfortable majority in Parliament, and to the royal family's personal setbacks.

Additional problems facing the queen's family this year have included Prince Andrew's retreat from public duties because of a disastrous TV interview in which he defended his friendship with the late convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.

Meanwhile on Tuesday, the queen's husband, Prince Phillip, was released from the hospital where he had been receiving treatment for a pre-existing condition. The 98-year-old was expected to join the rest of the royal family at Sandringham.

First published on December 24, 2019 / 4:22 AM

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