Like several countries around the world, the United Kingdom has faced renewed restrictions as the coronavirus pandemic rages on. The British royal family is no exception to the restrictions, meaning their annual holiday traditions remain in limbo. Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced rules for the upcoming holiday on Tuesday. Brits can be part of one bubble of three households and cannot change that bubble. They will only be allowed to meet in private homes, places of worship and outdoor spaces. The rules will be in place from Dec. 23 through Dec. 27.
Each year, Prince Harry's grandmother delivers her pre-recorded Christmas message to the British public. The 94-year-old reigning monarch is isolating at Windsor Castle with her husband, Prince Philip, 99, and has not yet decided whether she will remain there or travel to her rural retreat at Sandringham in eastern England come Christmastime, sources tell People magazine.
A former royal staffer told the magazine that Queen Elizabeth may actually be looking forward to some downtime despite potential distancing from her loved ones.
"She might want a rest — you never know," the ex-staffer said. "She might be happier for a quieter household this year."
Additionally, there's a question over whether the Queen will reunite with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and their three kids -- Prince George, 7, Charlotte, 5, and Prince Louis, 2.
The couple is "waiting to hear [about U.K. government guidelines] just like everyone else," said the source, noting that the queen's grandchildren "miss their great-granny."
Meanwhile, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are expected to stay put in the United States given travel restrictions. Earlier this year, there were conflicting reports of the couple's Christmas plans, as the Duke and Duchess of Sussex notoriously stepped away from their senior royal duties at the start of the year. They have since relocated from the United Kingdom to Santa Barbara, Calif., with their son, Archie.
The palace source said it's been an emotional time for the royal family due to Meghan's recent revelation that she and Harry suffered a pregnancy loss in July. The former actress penned an op-ed piece for the New York Times on Wednesday detailing her miscarriage and the couple's "unbearable grief."
"There is a lot of sadness around the family," the source said.
Harry and Meghan also recently opened up their Frogmore Cottage in the United Kingdom to the royal's cousin, Princess Beatrice, who is expecting her first child with husband Jack Brooksbank.
Queen Elizabeth retreated to Windsor Castle back in early March due to the global health crisis. At the time, the pandemic canceled royal events, such as the family's annual Maundy service at St. George's Chapel on April 9 as well as three garden parties scheduled to be hosted by the queen in May.