Little Archie is front and center in Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan’s second Christmas card.
The 7-month-old is crawling in the monochromatic shot — away from his adoring parents and the decked-out Christmas tree behind him — to take full stock of the camera lens awaiting his arrival. The card was posted on Twitter on Monday by the Queen’s Commonwealth Trust, a royal charity that touts Harry and Meghan as its president and vice president, respectively.
“Merry Christmas and a happy new year,” the sparkling digital card reads, “from our family to yours.”
Just sharing the sweetest Christmas Card from our President and Vice-President, The Duke and Duchess of Sussex. Very Merry Christmas, everyone! pic.twitter.com/McOcHALoGl— The Queen's Commonwealth Trust (@queenscomtrust) December 23, 2019
However, it briefly appeared that the card might have been released without permission. On Tuesday, the Press Assn. of the U.K. and Ireland issued a kill order on the photo of the trio, meaning it could not be published for editorial use because the news organization had “since been advised that the picture is not representative of the Christmas card sent by the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.”
But the trust said that the card was legit.
“This was an authorised image shared with permission,” a spokeswoman for the Queen’s Commonwealth Trust said in an email to The Times. As of Tuesday afternoon, the image had not been removed from the trust’s official Twitter account.
Representatives for the Sussexes at Buckingham Palace could not immediately be reached for comment.
Last year, the duke and duchess released their first holiday card as a married couple that featured a fireworks-filled photo from their May 2018 wedding. This year’s photo was taken by the duchess’ friend actress Janina Gavankar, according to People.
In October, the often-scrutinized couple announced that they would be taking a six-week sabbatical and planned to spend the holidays with the former actress’ mother, Doria Ragland. Rumor had it that they’d be stateside for the festivities, but the pair kept a very low profile regarding their whereabouts.
Then, palace officials on Friday confirmed that they would be spending “private family time” in Canada to celebrate Christmas and ring in the new year. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau welcomed the trio to the Commonwealth nation with a tweet wishing them “a quiet and blessed stay in Canada,” which is where Meghan lived for seven years while she filmed the TV drama “Suits.”
Prince Harry, Meghan, and Archie, we’re all wishing you a quiet and blessed stay in Canada. You’re among friends, and always welcome here.— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) December 21, 2019
The family’s card was unexpected, given how they’ve shied away from the press in recent months following the October announcement that Harry would be taking legal action to protect his family from “a disturbing pattern of behaviour by British tabloid media.”
Their time away also meant that the couple opted out of Queen Elizabeth II’s annual Christmas luncheon in Sandringham last week (yes, the same luncheon that had royal watchers scrutinizing Prince William and Duchess Catherine’s every move following the BBC shrug seen around the world).
Meanwhile, the British royal family is still reeling from a tumultuous year that extended beyond the whirlwind surrounding Harry and Meghan. The palace’s latest scandal involved revelations that Prince Andrew was linked to convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein. It resulted in the prince, the queen’s second-born son, stepping down from his royal duties last month.
Over the weekend, the palace continued to do damage control with some sweet deflection. The queen and the three direct heirs to her throne got together to do a little baking. Queen Elizabeth II, her son Prince Charles, his son Prince William and his son Prince George worked together to prepare Christmas puddings for the Poppy Legion charity. And there were plenty of adorable snapshots of George mixing the batter to make anyone briefly forget about any sex scandal involving his grandpa’s brother.