A royal expert spoke out this week to say that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle likely will not be seeing Queen Elizabeth in the United Kingdom over Christmas.

A source close to Harry and Meghan told Vanity Fair that they have no plans to go back to the U.K. at all in December, which means they will miss the royal Christmas gathering for the second year in a row. Harry and Meghan spent Christmas of 2019 in Canada, where they were secretly planning their Megxit from the British royal family.

It has reportedly been almost a year since the 94 year-old Queen has seen her beloved great-grandson Archie, although it’s believed that the couple has been video chatting with the monarch regularly.

“At this stage they are really enjoying their new life in California and their new home,” a well-placed source said. “There are currently no plans for them to return to the U.K. for Christmas.”

Though the coronavirus pandemic has greatly restricted overseas travel, friends of Harry and Meghan believe that the real reason they don’t want to go back to Britain for Christmas is that they know family reunion would be tense after their fallout with Prince William and Kate Middleton.

“Let’s just say that while things are better between Harry and his brother, it’s not what it was, and I don’t think anyone is ready for a cozy family Christmas right now,” the source explained.

The feud between the brothers stems from back in 2017, when William warned Harry to take things slow with Meghan when they first started dating. Things have only escalated since then, as William is believed to have been furious over his brother’s decision to leave the royal family earlier this year.

Royal historian Robert Lacey, who has a new book out on the brothers’ relationship, warned that if they don’t mend their rift soon, the feud could be damaging to the crown in the long term.

“If this breach between the brothers is not healed in some way it will come to stand with the abdication crisis and the death of Diana as one of the traumas that changed the monarchy,” Lacey said. “There is time to change things in a positive direction, but at the moment the palace is not working in that direction.”

He explained that the feud actually dates back to when the brothers were kids  vying for their mother’s attention, when Harry often resented William, the heir to the throne, for being treated differently.

“The palace got this very wrong, as it always does with the second-born. They always treat the second-born badly, not to say cruelly,” Lacey said. “It happened with Princess Margaret. It happened with Prince Andrew. It’s the classic ‘heir and the spare’ thing. They just don’t know what to do with the spare. And they certainly didn’t know what to do with the spare’s wife.”

Lacey believes that the way the palace handled Meghan was mishandled as well.

“They just sent her off to watch the queen opening the Mersey Bridge,” he said. “There is nothing wrong with that, but they made the mistake of dealing with the spare’s wife thinking she was just a routine royal. She was never going to be a routine royal.”

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