MEGHAN Markle and Prince Harry have released their official 2021 Christmas card and it gives the world our first glimpse of baby Lilibet.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex stuck with their tradition of unveiling the card on December 23rd but it came slightly earlier in the day than it has in recent years.

This year Meghan and Harry's second child Lilibet Diana is featured in an adorable scene.

Lilibet is seen giggling as Meghan holds her aloft while Archie and Harry sit along side them smiling along.

Archie looks the spitting image of his dad Harry as he is seen wearing a smart white shirt with a full head of red hair.

Read our Meghan Markle live blog for the latest news and gossip

  • Joseph Gamp

    Downing Street: 'Likely' PM's audience with Queen to go virtual

    Downing Street said it was likely the Prime Minister's audiences with the Queen would move to being virtual.

    Asked whether Boris Johnson would continue to meet the Queen in person, the Prime Minister's official spokesman said: "That will be a matter for the royal family.

    "I'm not aware of them not being… I think they will probably be moved virtually but that'll be a matter for the palace."

  • Louis Allwood

    Windsor castle has had a festive makeover

    The Queen also makes sure Windsor Castle gets the star treatment ahead of Christmas. 

    Previously, staff were pictured putting up Christmas trees up at Windsor Castle – and they looked extremely grand. 

    Festive photographs show the traditional 15ft Nordmann Fir trees from Windsor Great Park being erected in the Crimson Drawing Room, and a 20ft version in St George's Chapel.

  • Louis Allwood

    Inside the royal homes at Christmas

    Every year, the Queen has Buckingham Palace decked out with huge 20ft Christmas trees and twinkling fairy lights, which stay up until in January.

    Royal fans got a glimpse of the ornate display in Buckingham Palace's Marble Hall via the royal family’s Instagram page. 

    Over at Kate Middleton and Prince William’s home, Kensington Palace, decorations are similarly grand. 

    The family usually have a gigantic 30ft tree outside their beautiful home, which is covered in lights and certainly looks fit for royalty.

  • Louis Allwood

    Queen ‘kept awake’ by fear Harry will ‘dismantle’ Firm

    A royal commentator has claimed that The Queen has sleepless nights over fears the throne would be handed to Prince Harry if disaster ever struck Prince William’s family.

    Royal commentator Daniela Elser in The New Zealand Herald questioned whether Harry would “dismantle” the institution “he has shown a dearth of respect for or interest in.”

    Daniela also wondered how he would reshape or remake the organisation which “he has blamed for so many of his problems and so much of his unhappiness.”

    She said: “Given Harry and his wife Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex’s loud and pique-fuelled bombardment of the palace this year, it would be understandable if even the remotest possibility of the monarchy ending up in their hands was something keeping his Gan Gan awake at night.”

  • Louis Allwood

    A service of thanksgiving for Prince Philip

    The Queen will make a service of thanksgiving to honour Prince Philip and it will take place next year.

    She has agreed that the event celebrating the Duke of Edinburgh's life and achievements will take place in Spring at Westminster Abbey.

    The congregation will include family, friends and dignitaries with further details to be announced soon.

    Representatives from the charities and organisations Prince Philip was associated with will also be in attendance.

  • Louis Allwood

    Meghan & Harry reveal first glimpse of Lilibet

    MEGHAN Markle and Prince Harry have revealed the first glimpse of baby Lilibet in a sweet family Christmas card.

    The Sussexes gleamed in the first picture of the foursome – with Meghan holding her daughter and Harry with his arm around Archie.

    The card read: "This year, 2021, we welcomed our daughter, Lilibet, to the world.

    “Archie made us a ‘Mama’ and a ‘Papa’, and Lili made us a family.”

  • Louis Allwood

    Even the corgis have a personalised Christmas menu

    As we're sure all animal lovers will agree, pets really are part of the family – and The Queen ensures her beloved corgis have a special Christmas treat too.

    The former chef claims Her Majesty's dogs were given a special Christmas meal too which consisted of the freshest local produce.

    Darren wrote: "Even the corgis – there were 12 when I was chef – have individual menus, usually involving a rotation of fresh rabbit, beef or chicken with rice and cabbage.

    "We’d jokingly refer to the footmen responsible for the dogs, both named Paul, as ‘Doggy One and Doggy Two’."

    Earlier this year, the Queen added two new corgi puppies to her royal household.

  • Louis Allwood

    Charles will be with Queen

    The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall will be with the Queen on Christmas Day, a Clarence House spokesman has said.

    The Queen will be staying at Windsor for her first Christmas without her late husband the Duke of Edinburgh, rather than travelling to Sandringham as usual.

    But she will be joined by members of her family over the festive period, including a visit from Charles and Camilla on Christmas Day.

    A spokesperson from Kensington Palace said the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge meanwhile will be spending Christmas in Norfolk and will be joined by some members of the Middleton family.

    The Queen took the decision to remain at Windsor as a “precautionary” measure following rising Covid-19 case numbers.

  • Louis Allwood

    Royal news you may have missed

    • We shared how Meghan’s ‘mask slipped’ showing ‘hostile behaviour’ in interview before she met Harry, says body language expert.
    • Meanwhile, Meghan showed her real feelings about her royal title with one gesture on Ellen show, says body language expert.
    • And Meghan and Prince Harry will skip Christmas with “disappointed” Queen & will celebrate in $15m pad, it’s claimed.
    • Louis Allwood

      Princess Diana was mortified during first royal Christmas says expert

      LET’S be honest – spending Christmas with your other half’s family for the first time is always going to be a little nerve-wracking.

      But what about if you’ve married into one of the most famous families in the world? Well, we can only imagine the stress.

      In December 1981, Princess Diana found herself in this exact scenario when she spent her first festive season at Sandringham with her new husband Prince Charles and the Royals.

      According to royal expert Victoria Arbiter, the 20-year-old went all out with presents for the family.

      However, the latest addition to the family was left mortified when she realised the Royals always opt for low-key presents – and she hadn’t been warned in advance.

      Victoria told 9Honey: “During her first newlywed Christmas at Sandringham in 1981, Diana fell foul of the ‘cheap and cheerful’ family motto and gave everyone pricey cashmere jumpers.

      “Beautiful as her gifts will have been, Diana was left rather red-faced having not been made aware of the family’s jokey tradition.”

    • Louis Allwood

      Real reason Queen can never reveal Prince Philip’s will

      One reason the late Duke’s will is not to be made public for at least 90 years is to protect the Sovereign’s position.

      Further to this, judge Sir Andrew McFarlane said it must remain secret to protect the Queen’s “dignity and standing”.

      Sir Andrew said to the BBC: “I have held that, because of the constitutional position of the Sovereign, it is appropriate to have a special practice in relation to royal wills.

      “There is a need to enhance the protection afforded to truly private aspects of the lives of this limited group of individuals in order to maintain the dignity of the Sovereign and close members of her family.”

    • Louis Allwood

      Prince William’s fave movie

      The Duke of Cambridge discussed his love for the 2003 classic Elf, a comedy that has continued to tickle him each year.

      “It’s very funny and I keep watching it every Christmas, it still makes me laugh,” he said.

      But he was less decisive when it came to what music the family rock around the tree too, “because he loves so many different types of songs.”

      “But for this particular chat, I’m going to say Feliz Navidad, because it’s a bit different,” he said.

    • Louis Allwood

      ‘Delightful’ card shows they’re ready to move on from rows, expert says

      The sweet family snap, which featured a first glimpse of baby Lillibet, shows the ex-senior working Royals have reached a "turning point," claims a royal expert. 

      The Duke and Duchess of Sussex beamed as they showed off their little girl for the first time yesterday.

      The picture was taken by the couple's wedding photographer Alexi Lubomirski.

      Royal Expert Phil Dampier, who has covered the firm for more than three decades, said the card could point to a new, softer era for the couple.

      Royal expert Mr Dampier said: "They look very relaxed, and they look very happy. I detect a slight softening in their general sort of attitude. I hope it's a turning point, and an indication of a new, softer era.

      "It's very upbeat and positive, and they have also made a donation to charity. And the Christmas card is an ideal way to introduce Lillibet to the world.

      "It is possible that they realise that they might have overdone some of the criticism of the Royal Family, and hopefully, they might roll some of it back.

      "If this is the start of an attempt to improve their image and generally be more upbeat and positive – then fair enough."

    • Louis Allwood

      Royal shopping spree

      WHEN you are the Queen, it’s not always possible to take a leisurely stroll around the shops looking for Christmas presents. 

      So Her Majesty, 95, has a very special shopping experience set up for her so she can pick gifts for her four kids, eight grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren.

      According to former butler Paul Burrell, who worked for the Queen and Princess Diana, the monarch gets her very own John Lewis pop-up shop at Windsor Castle.

      He told Closer magazine: “Firstly, she has catalogues sent to her, and then the Oxford Street branch of John Lewis sends her a selection of almost everything they stock.

      “There is a little ‘shop’ set up in the drawing room at Windsor Castle and the Queen can pop in and choose gifts at her leisure. Late at night, after dinner, usually around 10pm, she’ll pop into her little Christmas shop and do some shopping.

      “The Queen always chooses practical gifts that can be used – never ornaments or decorative things. So she might pick some picnic plates, a tablecloth, or a couple of hand towels. Then they are wrapped up and a truckload of presents are ready to go to Sandringham.”

    • Louis Allwood

      Kate Garraway asks if Sussexes Xmas card was released to ‘usurp’ the Queen

      Kate Garraway has questioned whether Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's Christmas card was released to "usurp" the Queen.

      The TV host discussed how the official image – which saw baby Lilibet Diana photographed for the first time – was released on the same day as Her Majesty’s.

      Kate, 54, and co-host Richard Bacon discussed the image, which seesThe Duke and Duchess of Sussex alongside their kids Archie, two, and Lilibet, six months.

      Showing the first real look at both the children's faces, the image was released to the public on Thursday on Instagram – much to the delight of Royal fans.

      But it pipped Buckingham Palace's official photograph of the Queen – whose annual speech will be broadcast tomorrow – to the post.

      It led Kate and Richard, 46, to speculate whether or not there was a reason the Christmas images were released in such quick succession.

      "They released their card half an hour before Buckingham Palace and the Queen did," Richard explained on Friday morning's show.

      Kate then asked: "So is there a suggestion, Richard, that they kind of did that to in some way usurp the Queen?"

    • Louis Allwood

      Fans thrilled to spot giggling Lilibet is the spitting image of Meghan Markle

      The Sussexes released their Christmas card yesterday showing off daughter Lilibet for the first time.

      Royal fans were quick to gush over the adorable family shot and point out how similar the young baby girl looks to Meghan when she was a tot.

      In the festive photo, taken by their wedding photographer Alexi Lubomirski, Meghan, 40, can be seen raising a giggling Lilibet – who was named after the Queen – into the air.

      Meanwhile Harry, in ripped jeans and no shoes, laughs as the 37-year-old cuddles their two-year-old son Archie.

      One fan compared Meghan being held as a baby by mum Doria Ragland to Meghan holding Lilibet, and said: “Wow the resemblance.”

      Another added: “Such cute kids. They have Dad’s hair and Mum’s nose. Perfection.”

    • Louis Allwood

      Every guest is WEIGHED before and after Christmas dinner

      Admit it, we all like to boast about how much food we can tuck away on Christmas Day – but in the Royal Family, you have to put your money where you mouth is.

      In 2018, royal expert Ingrid Seward Ingrid told Grazia that The Queen asks each of her guests to "weigh themselves" using a pair of antique scales when they first arrive at the Sandringham estate in Norfolk for the Christmas period.

      But this is all to make sure guests are having a great time – and they're weighed to make sure they're being "well fed".

      The tradition dates back to King Edward VII's reign in the early 1900s – and applies to all members of the royal clan.

      As the festivities undeniably revolve around eating, the Royal Family first enjoy a turkey dinner with all the trimmings before indulging themselves in an afternoon tea complete with a "gargantuan iced cake".

    • Louis Allwood

      Weirdest Royal Family Christmas traditions 

      Christmas Dinner isn't the only big meal of the day

      While most of us have a light dinner on Christmas Eve, the Queen goes all out and hosts a black tie banquet for her nearest and dearest.

      With the men in tuxedos and the women in tiaras, the Royals reportedly dine on Norfolk lamb, shrimp and other produce from within the estate.

      Former royal chef Darren McGrady – who worked for the family for 11 years – claims that the Royals are served a full English fry-up in their bedrooms the following morning.

      And if that wasn't enough, the chef told the Daily Mail that the family also followed up their Christmas lunch with wild BOAR for dinner.

      He said: "When I was there it was traditional, Old English cuisine: a stuffed boar’s head on platters, ox tongue and boiled and roasted hams, salmon and game. Potatoes tossed in hollandaise sauce, sliced tomatoes or green leaves suffice as an accompaniment."

    • Louis Allwood

      Weirdest Royal Family Christmas traditions 

      Gifts are exchanged on Christmas Eve

      We normally spend all of Christmas Eve telling the kids that they can't open any presents early – but after learning this fun fact about the Royal Family, we might just consider it.

      According to royal expert Robert Jobson, the Royals exchange their gifts as a nod to their German heritage – as Queen's Victoria's husband Albert started the tradition back after their wedding in 1841.

      He told the Express: "Royals have done it every year since. On Christmas Eve when all the clan are together, the Queen’s grandchildren and great-grandchildren put the finishing touches to the 20ft Christmas tree in the White Drawing Room.

      "Presents will be opened that day at tea time as the royals still keep to the German practice of opening their gifts on Christmas Eve."

      Instead of shoving them under the tree, the family are invited to lay their presents next to their name cards on a linen table cloth in the Red Drawing Room.

    • Louis Allwood

      Weirdest Royal Family Christmas traditions 

      The most important members of the Royal Family arrive last

      In previous years, our family members usually rock up as when they feel like it on Christmas Day.

      But when you're a Royal, this all depends on your status in the family.

      Speaking to Wales Online in 2014, royal author Brian Hoey revealed that members of the family are given a specific time to arrive a week before the celebrations.

      He said: "Those family members who have been invited to spend the holiday with the Queen and Prince Philip are told by the Crown Equerry, who organises all transport, in what order they are to arrive at Sandringham, the Queen’s Norfolk estate, and at exactly what time.

      "Royal protocol being what it is, it’s all worked out according to precedence and seniority, with the most junior and least important arriving first and Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge [and their children], the last to turn up."

    • Louis Allwood

      Kate Middleton's Christmas Eve show

      Kate will host the event, with hubby William among the 1,200-strong audience.

      Royal Carols: Together At Christmas, which will air on December 24 at 7.30pm on ITV, will also include a whole host of festive performances, readings and carols introduced by The Duchess of Cambridge. 

      Responding to the piano tease, royal editor Chris Ship said: "Looks like somebody is going to be performing in the ‘Together at Christmas’ carol concert tonight."

      The service was filmed on December 8, and Kate was seen wowing in a festive Catherine Walker coat with large bow detail, a red dress, and the Queen Mother's sapphire fringe earrings loaned to her by the Queen.

      In a clip released by ITV on December 17, Kate looked radiant in red as she says: “I am so excited to be hosting Together At Christmas here at Westminster Abbey.”

    • Louis Allwood

      Kate's musical skills

      In the short clip, the Duchess gracefully walks in and sit by the piano in the Abbey – which is illuminated by candlelight.

      She positions herself as if to start playing the keys and reading off the music sheet ahead of the festive concert.

      The Duchess is a former pianist, gaining her grade three when she was a teenager – and she also played the flute and received her grade five in music theory.

      Kate, 39, also teased the televised carol concert yesterday as she was pictured tying bows to a Christmas tree.

    • Louis Allwood

      Kate Middleton hints she’ll play Christmas carol

      Kate Middleton has hinted that she will showcase her piano skills tonight as she posted a sneak peek for the Together at Christmas carol concert.

      The Duchess of Cambridge – wearing a red dress and with her signature bouncy brunette hair – sat and poised herself ready to play the piano ahead of the concert at Westminster Abbey.

    • Louis Allwood

      Who will not be with the Queen?

      Prince William and Kate, both 39, and children George, Charlotte and Louis, will be in Norfolk, and joined by members of the Middleton family.

      Princess Anne, 71, has also been ruled out as she is in isolation after husband Tim Lawrence tested positive for Covid-19.

      The family will have a Christmas lunch before sitting together to watch the Queen’s address on TV.

      Her Majesty is not expected to make her traditional visit to church tomorrow or on Sunday.

      She has been on “light duties” since spending a night in hospital more than two months ago.

    • Louis Allwood

      Queen to be joined by 20 family members

      The bash at Windsor Castle will involve about half the number normally expected at Sandringham.

      It will be the 95-year-old monarch’s first Christmas since the death of Prince Philip in April.

      Before a meal, she and 16 family members will open gifts in the castle’s Crimson Drawing Room.

      They will include Prince Edward, 57, his wife Sophie Wessex with their children James and Louise, and Prince Andrew, 61.

      Also there will be Princesses Beatrice, 33, and Eugenie, 31, their husbands Edo Mapelli Mozzi and Jack Brooksbank and children August and Sienna.

      Mike and Zara Tindall, and their children Mia, Lena and Lucas, will spend the night at Windsor too.

      Prince Charles, 73, and Camilla, 74, yesterday revealed they would join the Queen for Christmas Day and the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester are also expected.

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