Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex are currently on a family break with baby Archie, and are expected to return to their royal duties in the New Year. It means that the young family will miss out on Christmas at Sandringham with the Queen and the rest of Royal Family this year – although the Sussexes are bound to enjoy the festive period as they spend it with the Duchess’ mother Doria Ragland. In addition, Harry reportedly enjoys festive partying with Palace staff – something he will miss out on this year.
In his 2014 book “Christmas with the Queen” royal author Brian Hoey reveals the secrets behind a royal Christmas.
These days, the royals host a drinks party for their 426 members of staff in the State Ballroom of Buckingham Palace before the family set off to Sandringham.
Hoey reveals how this used to be a Staff Dance for staff and their partners, which was a “great favourite” as the Queen would begin the dancing with the youngest equerry, and Prince Charles would lead out the youngest housemaid for the first dance.
However, he says, the drinks party is “a worthy substitute, as everyone gets to socialise with the Royal Family and the finest wines and spirits are served with no limit imposed”.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex (Image: Getty)
Prince Harry and Meghan last Christmas with Kate and William at Sandringham (Image: Getty)
Harry is “very popular with the staff” and reportedly lets his hair down and mixes informally with those who are nearer his age.
He was usually joined by other young royals such as Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie, however it has not been reported if Meghan has ever joined her husband in his festive partying since she joined the Royal Family.
Harry also made a habit of dropping in on more informal staff parties, too.
Mr Hoey reveals: “The junior staff, footmen and housemaids, have a very informal get-together that goes on until the early hours of the morning and often Prince Harry will drop in if he is in London.”
The Duchess of Sussex spent her first Christmas with the Royal Family in 2017 (Image: Getty)
Meanwhile, the Queen’s favourite party “by far”, it is revealed, is the Buckingham Palace Mews party.
This is an “exclusive” party for the grooms, stablehands and riders in the stables, along with the chauffeurs and mechanics in the garages of the Palace.
The Palace’s horses are decked out in bells and tinsel, and the Queen’s Piper pipes in Father Christmas on a horse-drawn sleigh.
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Prince Harry spent Christmas 2012 in Afghanistan (Image: Getty)
The Duke of Sussex on a Christmas visit to Lesotho with his charity Sentebale in 2014 (Image: Getty)
This year, although royal watchers will no doubt be disappointed not to catch a glimpse of Meghan and Harry on the traditional walk to church on Christmas Day at Sandringham, they may be able to see another pair of royal favourites.
According to the The Times’ royal correspondent Roya Nikkhah, Kate and William are said to be considering whether to let Prince George and Princess Charlotte come along on the trip for the first time.
Up until now the young prince and princess have been deemed too young to come along on the Christmas Day walk and sit through the church service.
Baby Louis is still set to be left at home with his nanny to await the family’s return for Christmas dinner.