Prince Harry previously revealed that he definitely wants to go back to the UK but the pandemic has complicated things.
More than half a year has passed since Meghan Markle and Prince Harry visited the UK. After their last official royal appearance in March, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex planned to split their time between the UK and the USA. But the pandemic foiled their plans, and they have been staying in California, America, with their son, Archie.
It seems that the couple will not be crossing the Atlantic to join the rest of the royal family for Christmas too. Having comfortably settled into their new home in LA, the Sussexes will most likely spend the holidays in America to avoid the current complications of traveling.
"Global travel has been made very complicated by the coronavirus pandemic and at the moment the Duke has no plans to travel back to the UK, certainly not before Christmas," a source close to Prince Harry told Vanity Fair. "The problem is if he comes over then he has to quarantine and that makes things quite difficult."
But one reason that sources reveal will bring them back to England is the court case against the publisher of The Mail on Sunday. Sources revealed that if the couple wishes to be physically present in court on January 11 for the case, then they would have to be back in the UK at least after Christmas, as reported by Express. Following months of being in the pre-trial phase, the court battle will officially begin on January 11, 2021. And the couple might return to England to be there in-person for the court proceedings which is estimated to last about 10 days.
However, there is no surety on whether the Sussexes will return in time for Christmas. This would be the second year in a row where Prince Harry and Meghan Markle would be missing Christmas with the Queen if they do not end up traveling back.
"At this stage they are really enjoying their new life in California and their new home. There are currently no plans for them to return to the U.K. for Christmas," the source that spoke to Vanity Fair explained, as reported by Marie Claire.
The source also seemed to suggest that the family might not be having a holiday reunion because of the recent rift that reportedly took place between Prince Harry and his brother, Prince William. "Let’s just say that while things are better between Harry and his brother, it’s not what it was, and I don’t think anyone is ready for a cozy family Christmas right now," said the source.
Previously, Prince Harry spoke about wanting to return to the UK but mentioned how the pandemic was making that difficult for him. "I definitely plan on coming back. I would have been back already had it not been for COVID," Prince Harry said on a video call with staff and volunteers from the Rugby Football League as he spoke about a rugby league World Cup taking place next year, according to Us Weekly.
If circumstances were different, Prince Harry may have joined his family in England for the holidays because, like it is for most families, spending Christmas together is a special tradition for the British royal family as well. "There’s a lot of tradition surrounding the holidays with his family, and they both have really loved that in the past," a source previously told Us Weekly in September. "With the uncertainty of COVID, they have been taking it one day at a time and are hopeful that they can all go back together and spend it as a family."
While adding that the course of the pandemic would affect their plans, the source also said at the time, "Time will tell if that will need to happen and if it could potentially impact what they do and when, but they are all eager to get back to spend time with Harry’s family and for Archie to see his great-grandmother [Queen Elizabeth II] and great-grandfather [Prince Philip] in particular."
However, with no drastic shift in the pandemic's effects, recent reports reveal that Meghan Markle and Prince Harry will most likely stay back in America for Christmas but possibly return for the court battle, according to Express.
For now, the Sussexes are turning to technology and the internet to stay in touch with their family members at home. The source that spoke to Us Weekly also said, "They have so much fun over Zoom, and they have bonded through Zoom calls. Harry is so close with his grandmother, and he is excited to get Archie back [to London] so that they can see her."