Buckingham Palace has released a statement revealing Queen Elizabeth’s reaction when Prince Harry and Meghan Markle snubbed her invitation to join them at Sandringham for Christmas. Earlier this month, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex came under fire after allegedly turning down the Queen’s invitation and choosing to spend Christmas in the U.S. instead.

Every Christmas, members of the royal family gather together to spend the holidays at Sandringham. This year, however, a spokesperson of Prince Harry and Meghan has confirmed that they would not join the rest of the royal family as they would have their holiday celebration in Los Angeles with Meghan’s mom, Doria Ragland.

“Having spent the last two Christmases at Sandringham, Their Royal Highnesses will spend the holiday this year, as a new family, with the Duchess’ mother Doria Ragland,” the statement reads.

Prince Harry and Meghan received massive backlash immediately after the announcement, with royal followers pointing out that it was disrespectful of them to decline Queen Elizabeth’s invitation. On Wednesday, however, Buckingham Palace confirmed that the royal couple has the full support of the Queen.

According to Buckingham Palace’s statement, Queen Elizabeth completely understands that this will be Prince Harry and Meghan’s first Christmas with Archie Harrison so they want to spend the holidays as a family with Ragland. “This decision is in line with precedent set previously by other members of the royal family, and has the support of Her Majesty The Queen,” Buckingham’s statement reads.

As of this writing, the Palace has not yet released details of Prince Harry and Meghan’s Christmas itinerary. Although it has been previously speculated that they would spend Christmas in Los Angeles, more recent reports suggest that Ragland would be the one to fly to Britain to join Prince Harry, Meghan, and Archie at their home in Windsor.

This year will mark the second time Prince Harry has spent Christmas away from the rest of the royal family. In 2012, he was not able to spend at Sandringham for Christmas as he was serving as a military in Afghanistan over the Christmas period.

Queen Elizabeth and Prince Harry
Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, attend the Royal Garden Party at Buckingham Palace on May 29, 2019, in London, England. Yui Mok - WPA Pool/Getty Images

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