Harry and Meghan 'would spend Christmas' with King, insiders say
Harry and Meghan ‘would accept offer to spend Christmas with the royal family at Sandringham…but are yet to receive an invite from King Charles’ – as insiders reveal the monarch is determined to ‘step up’ his grandfather duties
- No invitation has been received, though a call is said to be planned for this week
- King Charles is understood to want to ‘spend more time with his grandchildren’
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle would accept an invitation to spend Christmas with King Charles and the rest of the Royal Family at Sandringham, insiders claim, adding that they might require ‘heightened protection’ to make it happen.
The Duke of Sussex, who lives in California with Meghan Markle and their two children, Archie, 4, and Lilibet, 2, is understood to have spoken to King Charles on Tuesday in a phone call for his father’s 75th birthday.
Sources told The Times that the conversation could be a ‘turning point’ in the difficult relationship between the Sussexes and the King.
This has now been followed by suggestions that the couple would be willing to accept an invitation to spend the festive season in Britain. It was also suggested that they would be willing to accept an invitation to Balmoral, in Scotland, during the summer.
‘I can’t imagine the Sussexes would decline an invitation to spend time with His Majesty,’ a source told the newspaper.
‘As of yet, there have not been any invitations for the holidays.’
The thaw in their relationship comes after a source told the Mail on Sunday that King Charles wanted ‘to spend more time with his grandchildren’.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are understood to be willing to accept any invitation from King Charles to spend Christmas at Sandringham House
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle last spent Christmas at Sandringham in 2018, where photos of them walking with Prince William and Catherine Middleton drew positive headlines
Prince Harry spoke with his father on Tuesday, it is understood, where he played a video from his two children signing Happy Birthday to the King
Sources close to the Sussexes say that safety and protection for any such visit to Britain would be an issue
It is understood that another phone call between the King and his son is planned for the coming week.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle last spent Christmas at Sandringham in 2018.
Sources close to the couple suggested that they would need both ‘heightened protection’ to be able to realise any invitation.
They added that, without a residence in Britain, the Sussexes would also require a ‘formal invitation’ from King Charles or Buckingham Palace to be able to stay in a residence that has sufficient protection.
In March, King Charles requested that Harry and Meghan vacate Frogmore Cottage, their home in Windsor. They fully moved out in July.
Prince Harry no longer benefits from police protection while he is in the UK, following a decision by the Home Office to withdraw it.
Aides to the Royal Family said that accommodation for the Prince was likely to be made available for short visits, if any requests are received.
The revelation that the Susssexes would accept invitations to spend time with King Charles in Britain suggest that they are seeking to repair relations that have been damaged over recent years.
The Sussexes’ children, Archie and Lilibet, have spent little time with King Charles. They have never spent Christmas with their grandfather and this distance is said to cause upset for both sides.
They are understood to have made a video singing Happy Birthday for the King which was shown during the call on Tuesday.
Source suggest that the Sussexes would require a ‘formal invitation’ from King Charles or Buckingham Palace to be able to stay in a residence that has sufficient protection
The Sussexes’ children, Archie and Lilibet, have spent little time with King Charles. This distance is said to cause upset for both sides
It comes as the Mail on Sunday revealed that the King has been spending more time in Windsor than he did as Prince of Wales, typically visiting on weekends.
It means he is just down the road from the Prince and Princess of Wales and his three grandchildren, who moved to Adelaide Cottage on the Windsor estate last year.
A source said: ‘Charles wants to spend more time with his grandchildren. There’s so much love there.
‘Before, they were miles away from the Waleses but geographically they are now much closer so he can spend more time with them, and he’s very glad [of it].’
For decades Charles spent as little time as possible at Windsor Castle but this has changed in recent months. William and Kate are also understood to be spending less time at their country bolthole, Anmer Hall in Norfolk, during term time.
Insiders have credited Camilla and Kate for getting the family together more frequently but William will likely take some of the credit.
Now, despite grappling with the packed schedule of a monarch, it seems King Charles (pictured with grandson Prince Louis) has finally taken the hint and is stepping up his duties as a grandfather
Insiders have credited Camilla and Kate (pictured) for getting the family together more frequently but William will likely take some of the credit
When asked in 2018 whether his father has time to be a grandfather, William told documentary makers: ‘It’s something I’m working more heavily on, put it that way. I think he does have time for it, but I would like him to have more time with the children.
‘Now he’s reached his 70th year it’s a perfect time to consolidate a little bit because, as most families would do, you are worried about having them around and making sure their health’s OK – and he’s the fittest man I know but, equally, I want him to be fit until he’s 95.
‘So having more time with him at home would be lovely, and being able to play around with the grandchildren. Because when he’s there, he’s brilliant. But we need him there as much as possible.’
There were fears that as King it would be even trickier to fit in being a grandfather but, having just turned 75, Charles is streamlining his priorities to spend more time with George, ten, Charlotte, eight, and Louis, five.
There were fears that as King it would be even trickier to fit in being a grandfather but, having just turned 75, Charles is streamlining his priorities to spend more time with George, ten, (pictured behind Charles) Charlotte, eight, (left) and Louis, five
A source said: ‘His habits are that he heads to Highgrove [in Gloucestershire] for the weekend and will stop at Windsor on Fridays.
‘Obviously, that makes it more possible to see his grandchildren, with whom he has an incredibly warm and fond relationship.’
Queen Camilla has previously described Charles as a hands-on grandfather who will ‘get down on his knees and crawl about with them for hours . . . making funny noises and laughing’.
He even turned his beloved gardens at Highgrove into a toddler’s playground for Prince George. In 2015, when George was two, Charles refurbished the treehouse once enjoyed by William and Harry.
The desire to be closer to the Wales children is most likely not unrelated to the painful estrangement from his two grandchildren overseas.
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