Harry and Meghan to miss Christmas with the queen

London (AFP) –


Prince Harry and his wife Meghan, who recently complained about the pressures of life in the media spotlight, announced Thursday they will not spend Christmas with the rest of the royal family.

Instead of joining Queen Elizabeth II at her Sandringham estate in Norfolk, eastern England, the couple and baby Archie will spend the holiday with Meghan's mother, who lives in the United States.

"The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are looking forward to extended family time towards the end of this month," said a statement issued by the couple, who married last year.

"Having spent the last two Christmases at Sandringham, their royal highnesses will spend the holiday this year, as a new family, with the duchess's mother, Doria 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."

It was not immediately clear if the couple would travel to visit Ragland, or invite her to Britain.

The announcement comes just weeks after Harry and his wife, a former US actress, gave a remarkably candid television interview about the pressure they felt from being the subject of global media interest.

The couple are suing a British tabloid for a story about Meghan and her father, and the prince is also suing two newspaper groups for phone hacking.

Speaking to ITV television last month, Harry referenced his mother Diana, who died in a car crash in Paris in 1997 while being pursued by photographers.

"I will not be bullied into playing a game that killed my mum," he said.

He also confirmed reports of tensions with his brother Prince William, the second in line to the throne.

Meghan admitted that being a new mother while being in the spotlight was a "struggle".