The Duke and Duchess of Montecito are very happy where they are, thank you very much. But it’s funny to see both American and British media outlets try to turn that simple fact into some kind of scandal. Do I think that Harry & Meghan would have preferred to spend this year traveling and working? For sure. But they aren’t unhappy – they live in a giant mansion with a million bathrooms, they have tons of space for Archie and the dogs, and they’re working on a million Netflix and charity projects. They’re totally fine. Not only that, but they can go out on date nights and no one bugs them:

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry have been making time for each other as they settle into their new community of Montecito. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex arrived hand-in-hand at Lucky’s Steakhouse on Oct. 6, where they had a cozy date night with friends Katharine McPhee and David Foster.

“Sometimes they do solo dates,” a source tells PEOPLE in this week’s issue, “and sometimes with friends.” The laidback Santa Barbara area offers an ideal lifestyle for the couple, who had been craving a slower pace. In town, “no one really bothers them,” the source adds.

[From People]

I think that’s probably true, especially how little we’ve seen of them IN Montecito – I’m sure there are paparazzi in town permanently, looking to disrupt sh-t. But I also think that in those wealthy enclaves like Montecito, people mind their business and keep their mouths shut. Which is why Harry & Meghan will be spending Christmas in California, thank you very much:

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle won’t be returning to the United Kingdom before the end of the year, and plan to spend Christmas at their new home in Los Angeles. There had been speculation that Harry was planning to return to his homeland following reports of activity at the couple’s Frogmore Cottage home in Windsor, where aides had reportedly been told to prepare for the royal’s arrival. However sources close to the Duke have told Vanity Fair that Harry isn’t planning to cross the Atlantic any time soon because of the pandemic.

“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,” said the source. “The problem is if he comes over then he has to quarantine and that makes things quite difficult.”

Harry and Meghan are said to be looking forward to spending their first American Christmas together in their new Montecito home. It will be the second year in a row the Sussexes have missed Christmas with the Queen and the royal family. Last year they spent the festive season at a friends’ home in Canada.

With coronavirus cases rising in the UK and a possible ban on households mixing, all plans for the royals’ Christmas are also on hold. Nonetheless, the news that Harry won’t be coming home will likely be disappointing for the Queen, who is said to miss her grandson and great grandson Archie, whom she has not seen for a year.

Harry and Meghan had planned to come back to the UK at least once this year, in June, for Trooping the Colour, the Queen’s official birthday celebrations, and to visit the monarch at Balmoral. Sources say they will instead be returning to the UK after Christmas for the Meghan’s High Court case against the Mail on Sunday newspaper, which begins on January 11th. Meghan is suing the tabloid for breach of copyright after it published a private letter she wrote to her father Thomas Markle, and is required by law to appear in court in person. Sources say Harry and Archie will be making the trip to the UK with Meghan and that the family will base themselves at Frogmore in Windsor, where they will have to quarantine for two weeks.

The lengthy court battle is set to cost the Duchess £1.8m but sources say she is determined to have her day in court and will not settle with Associated Newspapers. While the visit to the UK will be an opportunity for the couple to be reunited with members of the royal family, there is also the prospect of Meghan coming face-to-face in the courtroom with her father, who she has not seen in over two years.

[From Vanity Fair]

Well… that’s exactly what I thought would happen? They’ll spend Christmas in California, but then they’ll travel (all together) to the UK just before New Year’s so they can quarantine before Meghan is due in court for the Daily Mail lawsuit. Something to look forward to, I guess. I’m sure there will be so many shenanigans around the royal-Christmas stories too.

Photos courtesy of WENN, Avalon Red and Backgrid.

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