Meghan and Harry Won't Stay with Kate and William This Christmas: Reports
The Royal Fab Four will celebrate Christmas together, but they reportedly won't stay under the same roof.
Meghan Markle and Prince Harry will stay with Queen Elizabeth at Sandringham House, the 92-year-old monarch's country home in Norfolk, while Kate Middleton and Prince William will be at their nearby home of Anmer Hall with their children, Prince George, 5, Princess Charlotte, 3, and 7-month-old Prince Louis, according to multiple reports.
In Sandringham, the royals will take part in a number of traditions. Guests usually arrive in the early afternoon on Christmas Eve and exchange gifts. After their church outing on the big day, the royal family heads back to Sandringham House for a lunch of Norfolk turkey and other festivities.
Although this is Meghan and Harry's first Christmas together as a married couple — and soon-to-be-parents — the former Suits star joined the royal family for their Christmas celebrations in 2017, despite it being unusual for non-married partners of senior members of the family to join the Queen for Christmas Day celebrations. That year, the couple stayed with William and Kate, both 36, at their home.
Despite being engaged to William, in 2010 Kate spent her last Christmas as a single woman with her own family. But, unlike Kate, Meghan doesn't have any family in the U.K. — and clearly Harry, 34, will have wanted his new fiancée by his side.
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A source recently told PEOPLE that the couples enjoyed a memorable first Christmas together last year, when Meghan, 37, made her debut walk to church with the royal family on Christmas Day.
"They really loved Christmas and all had a wonderful time," the source said. "I think the two women got on — they are definitely not best friends, but it was a really special time for them all to spend together."
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This year's Christmas celebration comes amid claims of tension between brothers William and Harry and their wives. A family friend confirms to PEOPLE in this week's cover story that Meghan and Kate clashed in the days ahead of the Duchess of Sussex's royal wedding to Harry in May.
"There was an argument between Meghan and Kate over the fit of [3-year-old] Princess Charlotte‘s dress," the source confirms.
A different insider adds, "There were very few fittings for the bridesmaids. Everything was left to the last minute, and it was really stressful for everyone involved."
Kate was reportedly "left in tears" over the incident — though exactly what upset her is unclear.
Several sources have said that there was a notable amount of "stress" surrounding those involved in the wedding. Still, a royal wedding guest previously told PEOPLE that William "was in a jokey, wonderful mood" at Meghan and Harry's private evening reception — and that Kate was in "great form."
Tensions around the wedding also escalated when Queen Elizabeth turned down Meghan's first choice of tiara to wear on her wedding day. It was one of many fraught royal wedding conversations, which, according to royal biographer Robert Jobson, left Harry shouting at staff, "What Meghan wants, Meghan gets!"
Earlier this month, as speculation about Kate and Meghan's rumored feud continued to dominate headlines, their shared office at Kensington Palace took the rare step of publicly denying a report that Kate had warned Meghan not to scold staff members. (The palace has not commented on other reports of conflict.)
Since Meghan officially joined the royal family, there has been a shakeup in its synergy — one that many believe was inevitable.
"Wives do change the dynamic, and they both have very strong wives," a palace insider told PEOPLE. "If you bring two independent-minded women from the real world into the royal world, they are going to want to have an impact."