It was a huge year for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. They famously sat down with Oprah Winfrey, they launched a podcast and of course, the couple welcomed their second child, Lilibet into the world.
However, there’s one photograph of the Sussexes that apparently had senior royals scratching their heads.
According to royal expert, Neil Sean, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s Christmas 2021 photograph left the royals feeling “confusion, dismay and at points despairing”.
In a video released on his Youtube Channel, Neil Sean’s Daily News Headlines, Neil said he had a number of “good sources” who said the palace were particularly confused over the snap.
"As we all know Prince Harry was born a British Prince and there's nothing more sacred to our gracious Majesty the Queen than her Christian faith and this particular time of year, she holds it with great affection,” he said.
"In fact, it was one of the most favourite times of the year for Her Majesty and the late Duke of Edinburgh so you can imagine I'm suspecting her dismay at the Christmas greeting which was on the cards now.
“I'm told this phrase Happy Holidays is very much a Californian slang."
It seems royal fans may have had other thoughts, as they were left thrilled when Prince Harry and Meghan Markle released the card, which featured both of their children, Archie and Lilibet.
The adorable snap, which was taken by photographer (and Polish prince) Alexi Lubomirski, showed what fans are now calling the ‘Fab Four’ smiling as they sit together on outdoor steps.
Two-year-old Archie, whom fans hadn't seen a picture of since 2019 when the Sussexes toured South Africa, was pictured with a full head of auburn curls, sitting happily in between his father’s legs as Meghan and Harry gazed up adoringly at baby Lilibet.
Prince Harry looked like the proudest father as he posed in a pair of cut-out denim jeans and a light denim shirt, while Meghan was seen in a black long-sleeved top and denim skinny jeans.
But the real star of the show was six-month-old baby Lillibet, who is named affectionately after Queen Elizabeth.
Lili, as she’s known, was seen in a white dress, with a massive smile on her face as she looked at her parents.
"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," Harry and Meghan said in their card.
"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.
"Wishing you a happy holiday season and a prosperous New Year, from our family to yours! As ever, Harry, Meghan, Archie, and Lili," the Sussexes signed the card.
The Sussexes released the card with an organisation called Team Rubicon, a veteran-led disaster relief organisation serving vulnerable communities.
“We're grateful to Archewell Foundation and Prince Harry and Meghan, The Duke and Duchess of Sussex for their support of our efforts to welcome Afghan families into communities across the country. We are honored to be amongst the organizations featured in their family’s holiday card this year,” the organisation wrote on Instagram.
“Our team was thrilled to have the opportunity to meet The Duke and Duchess of Sussex earlier this year at one of the sites we supported, Task Force Liberty, in New Jersey. Afghan family resettlement is a deeply personal mission for our volunteers and with this generous donation, it is our privilege to be able to support them as they transition into their new homes in the new year.”
The news of the palace's reaction to the Christmas card comes after Prince Charles made a rare reference to his son in a speech.
Things have been fraught between Prince Harry and his father for a long time now, with the 37-year-old royal famously telling Oprah all about their strained relationship.
However, in an essay for America's Newsweek magazine, the 73-year-old royal said he was "proud" of both of his sons.
"As a father, I am proud that my sons have recognised this threat [of climate change]," Charles wrote.
"Most recently, my elder son, William, launched the prestigious Earthshot Prize to incentivise change and help repair our planet over the next 10 years by identifying and investing in the technologies that can make a difference.
"And my younger son, Harry, has passionately highlighted the impact of climate change, especially in relation to Africa, and committed his charity to being net zero."
It was also revealed recently that Kate Middleton has been left "really, really upset" over the royal family's continued strained relationship with Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.
"Everything with Harry and Meghan has been hugely stressful, but if anything, it's pulled [her and William] closer together," a source told People .
"She was upset about it because [William] was so upset."
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