Royal Christmas

Harry and Meghan's Christmas cards all have one telling feature in common, and it tells us a lot about them

There may not have been many, but the Sussexes know how to stand out from the crowd.

By Alex Lilly
When it comes to royal Christmas cards, it's easy to think of the Cambridge family and their perfectly curated photo shoots.
This year was no different with Kensington Palace releasing a stunning snap of Prince William, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge and their three children taken during a trip to Jordan.
But as for Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, there's been a subtle theme behind the Christmas cards they've released since becoming an official couple in 2018.
For their first Christmas as husband and wife, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex delighted fans with an unseen image snapped at their May wedding.
Taken at their reception at Frogmore House, Harry and Meghan's backs are to the camera as they watch a firework display, their hands locked together.
To top it off, the snap was also in black and white giving it an artsy feel that was remarkably different to Harry's royal relatives' traditional cards of that year.
Harry and Meghan's 2018 Christmas card featured a photo taken at their wedding reception. (Image: Chris Allerton/PA)
A year later, the couple had welcomed their first child Archie and the new parents decided to up their Christmas card game.
The official Twitter page of the Queen's Commonwealth Trust of which Prince Harry was President and Duchess Meghan Vice-President, shared their sweet GIF that featured the family-of-three sitting beneath a Christmas tree, baby Archie looking curiously into the camera.
Once again, the image was in black and white making royal fans suspect a theme was arising.
"Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. From our family to yours," the card read.
Then came 2020, the year of the couple's explosive announcement that they would be stepping down as senior royals.
Needless to say, royal fans were impatient to see what the couple would release to mark the end of such a huge year or if they would even release a Christmas card at all.
But as luck would have it, Harry and Meghan chose to share a unique image of themselves, their then-19-month-old son Archie and their two dogs, Guy and Pula, sitting in the garden of their California home with a small Christmas tree and poinsettia plant on either side.
The Sussexes broke tradition once again as it was both in colour and illustrated with a cartoon filter.
2020 showed a new side to the Sussexes. (Image: Mayhew/The Sussex Family)
A spokesperson for the couple confirmed the original photo of the family was captured by Meghan's mother, Doria Ragland.
"The small Christmas tree, including the homemade ornaments and other decorations, were selected by Archie, and the tree will be replanted after the holidays," their rep said at the time.
Ever since the couple welcomed daughter Lili, fans waited impatiently for the first picture of the new arrival and just days before Christmas 2021, we were finally graced with a glorious new photo.
Taken by Alexi Lubomirski, who also shot Harry and Meghan's engagement photos back in 2017, the Sussex Christmas card displayed the family of four at their Santa Barbara, California home.
"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," the card read.
Whilst Harry, Meghan and Archie, two, kept it casual in jeans, six-month-old Lili smiles in her frilly white set as she is lifted into the air by her proud mum.
Whilst this one is a little less artsy than previous years, there's been a theme with all of the Sussexes' cards.
For their first Christmas as a family of four, Harry and Meghan shared this delightful snap. (Image: Alexi Lubomirski)
Just as they themselves are, Harry and Meghan are unafraid to stand out from the crowd and break tradition when it comes to their Christmas cards.
Their focus on privacy and intimate moments with the family often looking away from the camera, as well as those artistic touches show that they beat to the march of their own drum.
Unlike his brother William and his family who follow tradition since they will one day be the head of the royal family, Harry and his family are able to take a step back and live their lives as they see fit.
After such a turbulent time both during their royal years and after as they navigate parenthood, living in the US and a global pandemic, the Sussexes are happy to keep it real and we hope we see that for years to come.