Picture of Queen recording Christmas message at Windsor Castle also made public, featuring a photo with the Duke of Edinburgh.The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have released the first picture of their daughter, Lilibet, with Meghan holding up the laughing child in an image on their Christmas card.
The photo, which also shows Prince Harry with curly haired Archie on his knee, was taken by Alexi Lubomirski this summer at the couple’s home in Santa Barbara, California. No images of six-month-old Lilibet, named after the Queen’s childhood nickname, have been released before now, and her two-year-old brother’s face has rarely been seen in public.
The message on the card reads: “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. As we look forward to 2022, we have made donations on your behalf to several organizations that honor and protect families – from those being relocated from Afghanistan, to American families in need of paid parental leave: Team Rubicon, Welcome.US, Human First Coalition, Humanity Crew & Paid Leave For All, PL+US, Marshall Plan for Moms. Wishing you a happy holiday season and a prosperous New Year, from our family to yours! As ever, Harry, Meghan, Archie & Lili.”
A statement from Harry and Meghan’s Archewell foundation confirmed that the couple had made contributions to the charities, including Welcome.US, which helps Afghan refugees settle in the country, and Team Rubicon, which mobilises military veterans for disaster response.The couple will celebrate Christmas with their children at their US home, to where they relocated from the UK in March 2020.
Clarence House has confirmed the Queen will spend Christmas Day with the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall. The monarch had said she would remain in Windsor for Christmas amid the rapid spread of the Omicron Covid variant.
The Queen normally hosts her large family at Sandringham in Norfolk, where they are usually watched by crowds as they attend church on 25 December, although Covid meant this did not happen last year.
The Queen also cancelled a traditional pre-Christmas lunch with her extended family, which had been scheduled for Tuesday.Buckingham Palace announced on Thursday that a service of thanksgiving for the life of the Duke of Edinburgh would take place in spring 2022 at Westminster Abbey.
The Queen’s Christmas Day message, to be broadcast at 3pm, is expected to be a particularly personal one this year, as she prepares for her first festive period since the death of the duke.
A photograph released by Buckingham Palace ahead of her televised address shows the Queen sitting behind a desk in the White Drawing Room at Windsor Castle, accompanied by a single, framed picture of the couple taken in 2007 at Broadlands country house, Hampshire, to mark their diamond wedding anniversary.
The handout from the palace shows the Queen wearing an embossed wool shift dress in Christmas red, by British designer Angela Kelly, as well as a sapphire chrysanthemum brooch which the then-Princess Elizabeth wore for a photocall on her honeymoon, also to Broadlands, in 1947, and for the couple’s diamond wedding celebrations.
This year’s message follows the death of the duke in April aged 99, while coronavirus restrictions at the time meant the Queen was memorably and poignantly forced to sit alone in St George’s Chapel for his funeral service.