Queen showing signs of ‘slimming down’ the monarchy says expert
Harry and his wife Meghan Markle are believed to have spent this Christmas at their home in Montecito, California. This year marked their daughter Lilibet’s first Christmas. She was one of four royal babies the Queen referenced in her speech yesterday — the others being Princess Eugenie’s son August, Princess Beatrice’s baby girl Sienna and Zara Tindall’s third baby Lucas. Her Majesty spent Christmas Day at Windsor Castle after cancelling plans to go to her Sandringham residence.
She was joined by Prince Charles and Camilla, as well as Prince Edward, Sophie and their two children.
Prince William and Kate, Duchess of Cambridge spent the day at their Anmer Hall residence with their three children and some of the Middleton family.
This year marks the third consecutive Christmas that the Sussexes have spent away from the rest of the Royal Family.
Last year a travel ban prevented a return even if they had wanted to, while they spent the Christmas of 2019 in Canada with Meghan’s mother Doria Ragland.
They had spent the previous two years at Sandringham with the rest of the royals.
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The Queen took Harry’s gift remarkably well.
As part of the Sandringham festivities, gifts are exchanged on Christmas Eve.
Trestle tables are laid out in the Red Drawing Room at the Norfolk residence, with sections of the tables marked off with tape showing where each family members’ present should be.
Royals sneak down to the room to place their gifts on the table throughout the afternoon, before presents are opened at 6pm.
In previous years, Prince Philip would oversee the evening.
Gifts, in general, are cheap and comical. It is one of the royals’ unwritten festive traditions.
Harry has a very good relationship with his grandmother.
Harry, according to unearthed accounts, is particularly good with his presents.
He enjoys a close relationship with the Queen and seemingly knows where he can and cannot push the boundaries.
Royal biographer Brian Hoey claimed he gave his grandmother a shower cap with the slogan ‘Ain’t Life a B****’ in 2013.
The Queen is believed to have enjoyed the present very much.
Harry went one better another year, according to the authors of Harry and Meghan’s unofficial biography ‘Finding Freedom’.
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The Queen jokes with Harry and Meghan in 2019.
Authors Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durard wrote: “Another time, he gifted his grandmother a Big Mouth Billy Bass singing toy that was said to sit proudly in Balmoral.”
The singing toy worked so well that Meghan opted for something similar several years later.
In 2017, Meghan’s royal Christmas debut, she bought the Queen a singing toy hamster.
Her Majesty, according to a report in the Daily Star at the time, laughed and said: “It can keep my dogs company.”
A royal insider told the newspaper: “Meghan bought a little hamster that sings with a little rope for Her Majesty.
Meghan and Harry with William and Kate at Sandringham in 2018.
“It was so funny, especially when the corgis tried to take hold of the toy.”
The report also said Her Majesty’s beloved corgis mauled the toy to pieces.
Harry later opened up on Meghan’s first Christmas with the royals when he guest-edited BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.
He said: “She really enjoyed it. The family loved having her there.
“There’s always that family part of Christmas, there’s always that work element as well.
“And I think together we had an amazing time.”
One person who did not get the memo about the comical gifts, however, was Harry’s mother Princess Diana.
On her first Christmas at Sandringham in 1981, she had not been told of the tradition and bought a series of luxury items.
She was mortified, but the rest of the Royal Family reportedly found it extremely funny.
Having bought Princess Anne a Cashmere jumper, she received a toilet roll holder in return from her sister-in-law.